The African Development Bank (AfDB) will hold its annual meetings for 2020 online for the first time, on Tuesday, against the background of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The meeting, which will be hosted from the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan, will include statutory meetings of the Board of Governors. This year’s annual meetings are also set to include, as part of the agenda of events, the final steps in electing a new President.
In a pre-recorded speech before this year’s meetings, AfDB President Akinoumi Adesina said, “For the first time in the history of the African Development Bank, annual meetings are being held virtually, due to the unprecedented effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
He added, “The financial capacity to face its effects has been expanded to unimaginable levels, and we have lost the economic gains that we have reaped over decades as a result of this global pandemic, which shook economies, peoples, and institutions.”
In the recorded speech posted on the bank’s website, Adesina also said that the effects of the pandemic are profound. He noted that they are likely to be felt for a long time to come, and require significant and continuous efforts to help countries, especially in Africa, recover from them.
He also said that there has never been a greater need than now for economic, social and environmental recovery for sustainable growth.
“Our annual meetings are a tremendous opportunity for the bank’s shareholders to observe with pride and admiration the overall commitment they have shown towards the progress of the AfDB,” he added.
Adesina thanked the AfDB’s Board of Directors for agreeing last April to a package of credit facilities worth $10bn. The financial package will be used to confront the pandemic’s effects across Africa, helping the continent deal with a pandemic that has already severely affected its economies.
The AfDB’s Board of Governors, who represent shareholders across 80 countries, approved a historic increase of $115bn in the bank’s capital during an extraordinary meeting in Abidjan last November.
The bank explained that this capital increase is the largest since its establishment in 1964, and is a testament to the extent of confidence that shareholders attach to the bank. With the approval of this increase, the AfDB’s capital more than doubled from $93bn to $208bn.