This May the awe-inspiring reign of Donald Kaberuka as the President of the African Development Bank comes to a triumphant end. His tenure as President has seen the direction of the bank change dramatically from an old boys club to a more progressive and growth-oriented institution. The list of eight candidates hot on his heels to replace him was released on the 20th February 2015, and they could not be any more different yet qualified and experienced at the same time. What makes this election such a significant event on the continent is the undeniable fact that each country wants to have one of their own at the helm of the African Development Bank. This is mainly due to the fact that it is becoming a major powerhouse on the continent in relation to providing that extra funding extra push that governments need when completing a major project; which so many African governments need right now.
Out of the eight vying for the post, the standout nominees are Sufian Ahmed from Ethiopia, Akinwumi Adesina from Nigeria and Cristina Duarte from Cabo Verde.
Sufian Ahmed deserves special mention because he currently occupies the post of Minister of Finance and Economic Development in his country. Throughout his time at the ministry he has managed to reduce Ethiopia’s inflation rate of more than 50% to its current single digit status. Above and beyond this he has driven the economy to double digit growth so much so that Ethiopia is now one of the top five non-oil producing economies on the continent.
Akinwumi Adesina from Nigeria is also being seen as a strong contender. He is currently the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria and has a PhD in Agricultural Economics. Besides the fact that he is Nigerian, this is what makes him so dangerous to his competitors. His expertise in Agricultural economics is in line with the trends across the continent and he could be the missing ingredient to achieving an African green revolution.
In terms of experience Cristina Duarte is without a doubt the most qualified as she has worked for World Bank, Citibank and is currently the minister of Finance in Cabo Verde.
Realistically, the Nigerian candidate has the highest probability of being elected. This is in accordance with the voting power rules that equate the size of each member’s share to their voting power. Nigeria currently has the largest voting power (9%) and they have never had a representative heading the institution, it is likely with all the problems that they are currently facing they could really use someone like Akinwumi in the helm.