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BREAKING: Akinwumi Adesina sworn in as AfDB President for second term

Akinwumi Adesina was officially sworn in as the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a second term in a virtual ceremony held at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Adesina was unanimously reelected as AfDB president on August 27, the final day of the 2020 Annual Meetings of the AfDB which were held virtually due to disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Akinwunmi Adesina at the swearing-in ceremony

Adesina, the first Nigerian to hold the position, was first elected as president in May 2015.

Ghana’s Minister of Finance Kenneth Ofori-Atta administered the oath of office in a ceremony which was virtually attended by a number of African heads of state such as Paul Kagame of Rwanda, George Weah of Liberia, Alpha Conde of Guinea, Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea-Bissau and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of the Congo.

The AfDB said that Adesina’s first term saw the Bank achieve impactful results on the lives of millions of Africans and maintain its AAA-ratings by all major global credit rating agencies for five years in a row.

Adesina, in his speech, said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve Africa passionately, to the very best of his ability.

“You elected me with 100 percent of all the votes of regional and non-regional shareholders of the Bank — without any exception. This is unparalleled in the Bank’s 56-year history. And for this, I am exceedingly grateful,” Adesina said.

Adesina pledged to focus on four areas: institution, people, delivery and sustainability; to transform the development landscape of Africa.

Adesina’s reelection bid had faced a serious hurdle following abuse of allegations leveled against him.

Whistleblowers in January accused Adesina of abuses of office including favouritism in hiring fellow Nigerians, and giving out overly generous severance packages.

A report by the bank’s ethics board in April cleared him of wrongdoing but the United States, AfDB’s second-largest shareholder, rejected the internal investigation and demanded an independent panel review the case.

An independent review in July subsequently found that the Bank had rightly cleared him of those allegations.