Ghana would host the African Development Bank’s next Annual Meetings in May 2021, it was announced Thursday, at the end of the group’s 2020 meetings.
The 2021 meetings would take place in the country’s capital city, Accra.
Côte d’Ivoire Planning Minister Niale Kaba, handed over the baton to Ghana, announcing that the Board of Governors would be chaired by Kenneth Ofori-Atta, Ghanaian Finance Minister, supported by the Governor from Austria as first Vice President, and the Niger Governor as second Vice President.
The 2020 edition of the Annual Meeting originally scheduled to be held physically in Côte d’Ivoire, home to the bank’s headquarters, was entirely virtual due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, for the first time in the bank’s history.
“It is with great honour and humility that I accept, on behalf of the Republic of Ghana, to chair the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank Group and host the Annual Meetings for 2021,” Ofori-Atta said in accepting the nomination.
“Let me thank (Kaba) for her incredible strength, fortitude and wisdom…The results today is a clear manifestation of what a great woman she is.”
Ofori-Atta outlined the challenges the continent faces due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic – contracting economies, risk of economic depression, 25 to 36 million Africans being pushed into extreme poverty, and the rising debt burden.
Yet, the minister said, the bank’s recent increase in capital, which rose from $93 billion to $208 billion in 2019, and the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA), gave room for hope.
“A one percent increase in Africa’s trade will result in $70 billion coming to us. So we must work hard to make sure that the days ahead are fulfilled for Africa,” Ofori-Atta said.
The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area deal, set to launch on January 1, 2021, would result in the world’s largest free trade area, with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and combined GDP of around $3 trillion across the 54 regional member states of the Bank. Ghana hosts the secretariat, which is located in Accra.
Ofori-Atta’s remarks were preceded by a brief video showcasing Ghana as a prime investment location and one of Africa’s growth success stories, alongside Ethiopia, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya.
The bank’s Annual Meetings represented a unique opportunity to discuss challenges and ways to advance the continent’s regional integration agenda. It also saw the re-election of current President Akinwumi Adesina for a second term.
“Thank you Côte d’Ivoire for handing over the baton in such a spectacular way. Ghana looks forward to hosting the Annual Meetings with much anticipation. There has never been a more opportune time to challenge the global financial infrastructure as we have it, with its inherent biases toward Africa.
“I urge the AfDB to use this pandemic as an opportunity to innovate and enhance its governance to truly serve the African people. Congrats Mr. President Adesina and may we continue to make history,” Ofori-Atta said.