The Africa Development Bank 2012 Annual Meeting is taking place in Arusha, Tanzania from 28 May to 1 June. The deliberations will be on the theme ‘Africa and the Emerging Global Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities.’
High level discussions are expected on 6 areas and these will include;
Opportunities and Challenges of the Global Financial Crisis
Greening the Economy: Opportunity for Growth
Emerging Issues in African Economies
Good Financial Governance in Africa: How to Graduate from Aid
Africa Transforming Africa
In a news release on its website, the AfDB says that "these topics will address the opportunities presented by the changing landscape catapulting African economies as key players in the global market." "Together, they look at the challenges that paved the road and the many opportunities toward the realisation of strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth for Africa."
Africa’s overall economic growth rate for 2012 is projected at six percent. Over the past ten years, six of the world’s fastest-growing economies were African. The Economist magazine has made a five-year projection that the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia may grow by an average 7.2 percent annually.
The bank has also been quoted in a previous statement that the meeting will provide an opportunity to receive contributions towards the formulation of its new ten-year Long Term Strategy for 2013 to 2022. Some internal and external consultations on the creation of this Long Term Strategy, which will replace the current five-year Medium Term Strategy for 2008 to 2012, are already ongoing.
Who is attending?
Guests expected from the world of African government and politics include the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, who will be joining in a high level debate on how the continent will shape its own future: ‘Africa transforming Africa’.
Another top statesman joining in the series of high level talks will be former Nigerian president, General Olusegun Obasanjo.
They will be joined by a host of finance and economic ministers from all across the African continent.
People from the world of commerce and finance taking time out of their busy schedules for the Annual Meetings include multibillionaire Nigerian businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, owner of the Dangote Group conglomerate.
Other African business leaders anticipated in Arusha are Charles Mensah, chairman of the Ghana-based Volta Aluminium Company; the chief executive officer of Oando plc, Wale Tinubu, and Paul Gondi, chairman of the Geothermal Development Company.
Figures from the world of high finance include Adebayo Ogunlesi, chairman of New York based USD 5.64 billion investment fund, Global Infrastructure Partners, together with the executive chairman of Infotech Investment Group, Ali A. Mufuruki, François Ekam-Dick, managing director of Iroko Securities, and Simpiwe Kenneth Tshabalala, deputy CEO of South Africa’s Standard Bank.
Other distinguished names are the governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania, Benno Ndulu and the chairman of the African Export-Import Bank, Jean-Louis Ekra.
Top consultants, analysts and academics from across Africa are also represented. From this sector, there is the director of the Nigeria branch of the global management consultants, McKinsey, Ache Leke; the secretary-general of the International Francophone Organisation, Abdou Diouf; the executive direct of the African Economic Research Consortium, William Lyakurwa; Nkosana Moyo, executive chairman of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies, and Frannie Léautier, executive secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation.
What does it mean for Africa?
In her statement at a press conference early on in the month, the AfDB Vice President had noted that this year's gathering was a special one. It would be the 47th version of the meeting, meaning that in 3 years the Bank will be conducting its 50th meeting. It will also be the 38th meeting of its concessional financing window, the Africa Development Fund.
For the host country Tanzania, it will mean somewhat big business for the people of Arusha. Over 2000 people are expected. It will also be an opportunity to demonstrate some of the development programs backed by the bank. But more so, it will be an opportunity report on economic growth projections for the country.
For the continent, its an opportunity to usher in new thinking, content and direction for the bank as it develops new strategic focus for a "future Africa", as the Vice President put it. In keeping with the shareholders increase capital, the continent must continue to support the bank with increased accountability. The new strategy must be used to strengthen support for and sustain the existing portfolio.
We will listen to the events out of Arusha and give you our perspective when we receive them.