HUNDREDS of participants have converged on Lusaka for the 51st Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the 42nd Meetings of the African Development Fund (ADB) Board of Governors, which takes place in the Zambian Capital from May 23 to 27, 2016.
President Edgar Lungu of Zambia will formally open the meetings on Tuesday along with his peers from several African countries, Governors of the Bank Group and its 8th elected President, Akinwumi Adesina.
Presidents Idriss Deby of Chad, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya have confirmed their attendance. Nigeria will be represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, while Tanzania and Mozambique will be represented by their Prime Ministers – Kassim Majaliwa and Carlos Agostinho do Rosário – respectively.
Other high-profile attendees include Akon, Kofi Annan, Aliko Dangote, Ashish Thakkar, John Kufuor, Mary Robinson, Mo Ibrahim, Nancy Lee, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Tony Elumelu, among others.
The AfDB Group will unveil its new agenda for the continent’s economic transformation – The New Deal on Energy for Africa 2016-2025, the Strategy for Jobs for Youth in Africa 2016-2025, and plan for Africa’s Agricultural transformation.
However, energy, considered to be the continent’s Achilles’ heel and the central theme of the Annual Meetings –‘Energy and Climate Change’ will be the topmost priority. It underscores the Bank’s determination to tackle the severe energy deficit in the continent where 650 million people don’t have access to electricity.
These high-level engagements will be preceded by the launch of the African Economic Outlook, an in-depth discussion of the state of African economies in 2016.
Governors, usually Finance or Economy Ministers, representing the 54 African and 26 non-Africa member countries of the Bank Group will review its 2015 operations report and approve its activities and budget for the coming year. In 2015, the Bank Group made loans and grants of USD 8.8 billion, a 25% increase on 2014.
President Adesina is among over 2,700 participants who have arrived in Lusaka for the Bank’s week-long flagship annual event. These include ministers and other top public and private sector officials, representatives of development agencies and international organisations, diplomats, civil society representatives and the media.