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This is Africa’s Hour

A blog by Donald Kaberuka, former AfDB President, 2005-2015

'The sleeping giant' is on its way, and the African trajectory continues upward, with a young and dynamic population. In this occasional blog, I try and share some of the thoughts along the journey – my own, the Bank’s, the continent’s.

27 Jul 2015

Obama and the Entrepreneurship Summit: Bringing Africa Into Focus

When President Obama hosted the historic summit of African leaders in Washington last August, the event was a major contribution to changing the continent’s economic image. The tired half-truths and clichés about aid dependence, political instability and AIDs were outshone by discussions of investment, genuine collaboration, and shared prosperity. It could not have happened without a firm basis in fact. In 1990, only two African economies could say that their foreign direct investment outweighed the foreign aid they received. Today, 17 nations can do so. Aid at that time was roughly...
24 Nov 2014

Violence against women is an affront to human dignity

  Idah Chilufya is a cross-border trader in the Great Lakes region. She is a fifty-year-old widow with four children. To raise an income selling her two boxes of tomatoes, she has faced daily threats of intimidation, robbery and sexual assault. Violence against women has to stop. As I’ve stated before: violence against women is violence against all of us. It’s an affront to human dignity. And it’s happening in our neighbourhood. Recent data show that the rates of sexual violence against women in Africa exceed 45%, 10% higher than the global average. It’s a hard-hitting...
08 Oct 2014

Transparency at the heart of Africa’s growth and prosperity

Today, Publish What You Fund is launching their annual Aid Transparency Index (ATI) in Washington, DC. The ATI is currently the only global measure of aid transparency amongst the world’s largest donors. I’m once again pleased to see that the African Development Bank has performed well, ranking eighth out of 68 organisations assessed, and gaining over 10 percentage points from last year. Transparency is a key priority for us and we have been working hard to ensure that the principles of transparency are embedded in the way we do business. In 2013, we launched our new...
06 Oct 2014

Africa starts to become master of its own destiny

Africa’s economy has grown fourfold since the turn of the millennium, with sub-Saharan Africa outperforming the rest of the world in terms of economic growth and at long last banishing any doubts about the continent’s upward trajectory. Apart from the 10 African countries that still have an African Union or a UN peacekeeping presence, 85 per cent of Africans live in countries that are at peace and relatively stable, and are generating 95 per cent of the continent’s gross domestic product. Indeed, of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies, seven are from Africa. That is not the...
10 Sep 2014

Isolate Ebola, not the countries

At the end of last week I visited Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the poorest countries in Sub Saharan Africa, and also the most affected by the Ebola outbreak. Ebola has taken over 1500 lives in West Africa, three-quarters of them in those two countries. And the pace appears to quicken: 40% of the cases have appeared in the last three weeks. Both countries have declared states of emergency: the placards on the streets of Monrovia and Freetown bear the message that for as long as we still seek a cure for the virus, then prevention is the best cure. Presidents Johnson Sirleaf and Koroma...
06 Aug 2014

Africa and America in Washington: How far have we got?

50 Africa leaders convene in Washington for a historic meeting with President Obama this week. Pedestrians and motorists caught up in the inevitable traffic jams around the White House may well be asking how far they have got, and where they are heading. CEOs, Economists, Development Leaders, Congressmen, and Policymakers will be asking a more profound version of the question, and relating it to Africa. Beyond the polemical question as to whether or not Africa is rising – itself an oversimplification of a complex reality – the issue will be how far has Africa’s political economy truly...
14 Nov 2013

Getting it right in the Sahel

  Last week I joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, African Union Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs on a visit to the Sahel region. It was a first. This was an unprecedented joint tour by Heads of international and regional institutions, a clear indication of the urgency and intricacy of the problems at hand and our determination to help find lasting solutions. As we made this tortuous tour through Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad it became increasingly clear to me that...
07 Oct 2013

Africa’s mineral wealth: A blessing or a curse?

The question is so often asked, and about so many of the determinants of development on the continent of Africa. There are well-worn arguments both about the potential of Africa’s exceptional natural wealth, and the reasons why it fails to deliver. The debate goes on, and intensifies with every new discovery – oil in Ghana, manganese in Gabon, coal in Mozambique, to name a few. We estimate that Africa has 120bn barrels of oil reserves, no less than half of Saudi Arabia, and 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, half of the world total. There is no doubt that the potential is...
25 Sep 2013

Multilateral aid for the 21st Century

Five years ago, it was the multilateral development banks which played a critical role in tempering the worst effects of the global financial crisis, with counter-cyclical funding, liquidity support, trade finance and other instruments. The African Development Bank doubled its loans and grants between 2008 and 2009. Reflecting the key role that these banks played, the shareholders agreed to increase their capital base, and tripled it for the Asian and African Development Banks. Some of these institutions – the African Development Fund, the International Development Association (IDA), and...
03 Aug 2013

U.S.Treasury Awards - Debating Africa and the Global Economy on US Public Radio

On Thursday, July 25, I was in Washington for an award ceremony at the US Treasury, in which two African Development Bank projects received recognition. Straight afterwards, I appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi show on Washington public radio alongside Lael Brainard, Under Secretary of State for International Affairs at the Treasury. We were discussing Africa, and its new investment opportunities. The message from both of us was of a resurgent Africa, a place for business and for opportunity, drawing strength from internal positive dynamics and still resilient to the slowdown in the global...