- Rwanda's Finance Minister Donald Kaberuka today in Tunis elected the new President of the African Development Bank Group (ADB) during the extraordinary Meeting of ADB Governors held in Tunis. The Rwandan Minister faced fierce competition from a Nigerian candidate.
54-year-old Minister Kaberuka today was elected the new leader of the influential regional finance bank ADB, which funds a large number of development projects around Africa. The bank headquarters currently are located in Tunis, after being forced to leave Abidjan, the war-torn financial capital of Côte d'Ivoire, some years ago.
Mr Kaberuka received 78.8 percent of the total votes and 68.2 percent of the African votes while Olabisi Ogunjobi of Nigeria polled 20.55 percent of the total votes and 30.74 percent of the African votes, in the seventh round of balloting. Mr Ogunjobi is Nigeria's Deputy Foreign Minister.
The two candidates had emerged the most popular after a thriller of a voting process. A total of six candidates from all over Africa had presented their candidacies. Government-sponsored candidates from Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana and Zimbabwe were left out of the race, one by one, until only the candidates from Rwanda and Nigeria remained.
The final election had been postponed following a stalemate at the 18-19 May annual meetings of the Bank Group held in Abuja, Nigeria, where no majority emerged, neither for the Rwandan nor for the Nigerian candidate. Since that, Rwanda's lobbying in favour of Mr Kaberuka obviously has been crowned with success.
The Rwandan Finance Minister represents one of Africa's most economically successful post-conflict regimes. While Rwanda still has many African enemies, Mr Kaberuka always could count on the non-African votes in the ADB, which hailed him for his economic successes in Rwanda. The Nigerian candidate was met with more scepticism by non-African representatives in the ADB board, reflecting Nigeria's poor economic record and poor reputation.
Mr Kaberuka will replace Omar Kabbaj of Morocco, who will complete his 10-year tenure at the Bank at the end of August. "The new President will be sworn in on 1 September 2005," ADB press spokesman Jerbi Narjes revealed in a statement today. With the Bank now being located in North Africa, it was seen as timely replacing the Moroccan leader with someone from sub-Saharan Africa.
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