Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, has been elected to be the new president of the African Development Bank.
Following a lengthy selection process at the Bank’s annual meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the AfDB’s board of governors picked Adesina from a shortlist of eight candidates. Adesina was elected with 60.5% of the regional vote and 58.1% of the total vote.
“First and foremost I want to thank the minister of finance of Ghana. Thank you so very much for what you’ve done. I also want to thank Uganda for seconding my nomination,” said Adesina on being elected.
“I want to assure you that as president I will be a responsible president, a hardworking , focused president, and a president that will work with you together in a cooperative manner to build on the excellent work that [outgoing president] Kaberuka has left us.”
Adesina was seen by many as one of the favourites for the AfDB position, having been responsible for a range of ambitious policies in Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
In his acceptance speech, Adesina paid tribute to the outgoing Kaberuka as well as his fellow candidates, saying, “We have had a very transparent election. These are my friends and I will work with them and I thank all countries that voted for them.”
“I will be the president of all, those who voted for me and those that didn’t,” he added. “Africa’s future is huge and together as partners we can make it as pride of the world in terms of inclusive growth…I will not let you down.”
The new president will begin his new position on 1st September and will be the first Nigerian to head the 50-year-old institution.
In the final vote, Chad’s minister of finance and budget, Kordjé Bedoumra, came in second with 31.6%. Cristina Duarte, Cabo Verde’s minister of finance and planning and the only female candidate, came in third with 10.3% of the total vote.
Sierra Leone’s Samura Kamara was the first candidate to be eliminated in the early afternoon, with Ethiopia’s Sufian Ahmed, Mali’s Birama Boubacar Sidibé, Tunisia’s Jaloul Ayed, and Zimbabwe’s Thomas Sakala ejected next.