Following his time at the AfDB, Kordjé Bedoumra intends to improve operational efficiency and pursue both short- and long-term policies. Interview with Hichem Ben Yaïche.
If appointed, what would be your first action as president?
You have to rapidly evaluate the situation. As I know the AfDB well, this shouldn’t be difficult. Action needs to be taken to mobilise and motivate the teams. I would review the organisational structure, focus on priorities, simplify procedures, optimise the budget and work to ensure effective decentralisation. I would devise a ‘roadmap’ to strengthen the Bank’s capacity to work towards this vision.
Why would you make a good
In addition to my record, I have had years of varied experience at the Bank and the Chadian government. As Secretary-General of the AfDB, you are involved in all strategic and political discussions in talks between country representatives and you help build consensus. My whole career has given me unique learning
opportunities, which have equipped me to conduct discussions and manage strategic problems at the very highest level.
What needs to be changed in the way the AfDB operates for it to help Africa really take off?
Helping Africa to take off is primarily the job of African countries themselves and their leaders. Africa will not take off just because of assistance. Each country, using its vision and mobilising its population, will ensure its own development, but the AfDB provides financial and technical support to key elements of this.
Can you give a concrete example of something AfDB does that other
development banks do not?
For a long time, the AfDB has been an institution which has taken charge of regional projects and developed instruments dedicated to financing them. Today, many projects have been realised. It’s an area in which the AfDB has become a leader and which they need to maintain and develop. Integration is the basis for the development and emergence of the continent.
The Bank’s strategy for 2013–2022 has been adopted. In this context, how can the new president pursue his or her own ideas and priorities?
There shouldn’t be any major contradictions. The 10-year strategy marks out several major priority sectors. What I suggest is to develop my vision around this 10-year strategy whilst reorienting it to ensure we carry out strategic objectives which I consider to be an urgent response to current issues.
The decentralisation strategy has been criticised for being expensive and inefficient. Do you intend to continue it?
There is an ongoing debate between decentralisation and financial control. These offices are a requirement of the countries which insisted on the Bank having more of a presence in their area. The principle of having a presence in the countries is important and should be maintained, alongside other institutions. However, we need to analyse the effectiveness of this decentralisation with regard to costs. With modern information systems and strengthened control mechanisms, we should be able to ensure a better delegation of authority at a reduced cost and to the benefit of African countries.