On Thursday, April 16, the World Bank Group President Jim Kim hosted a ceremony in Washington to honour the outgoing African Development Bank Group (AfDB) President Donald Kaberuka for his work to end extreme poverty on the continent during his 10-year career as head of the Bank.
There, he told a crowd of major players from the world’s economic and political stage that Kaberuka’s dedication to infrastructure development in Africa helped pave a way forward for the continent’s 54 countries. Kim thanked him for his service to the AfDB and the people who rely on it.
Five Presidents, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and President Alpha Condé of Guinea joined Kim in showing their appreciation.
“Truly some people are hard acts to follow and he is one of them,” Condé said of Kaberuka. “He has lifted the AfDB very high and it is our hope,” he added, “that African countries will be responsible enough to find a successor who will maintain the level that he has reached.”
Sirleaf reflected on Kaberuka’s tireless work during the Ebola crisis and recalled that he was not afraid to come to the affected countries to see what needed to be done to help.
Koroma called Kaberuka “a great son of Africa.” He went on to say it is Kaberuka’s vision for the AfDB that has spurred extensive growth in terms of the Bank’s size and activity.
“We will remember him for many things, but most importantly for his emphasis on infrastructure,” Karoma said. “We are indeed very grateful to him because we know the impact was great on our economies.”
Boosting economies and putting an end to extreme poverty by 2030 is the focus of this year’s World Bank-International Monetary Fund Annual Spring Meetings.
“The world had had great successes in the last 25 years in lifting people out of poverty, an astounding two-thirds reduction in the percentage,” Kim said.
“Today, fewer than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, and we must now reexamine our strategies to lift the final billion out of poverty and into the modern world.”
Strategizing to fight against poverty is something Kaberuka knows a lot about. Before joining the AfDB he served as Finance in Rwanda Minister where he oversaw the country’s successful reconstruction following its brutal genocide. At the helm of the AfDB, Kaberuka set infrastructure development as a top priority, a topic he has passionately talked a lot about for a decade.
Earlier in the day, Kaberuka delivered a keynote address at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington, DC think tank, where he talked about boosting trade investment and development in Africa while reducing poverty. To do that he says he has focused the bulk of the Bank’s work on three crucial tasks:
First, is supporting countries that want to fund development from within. Two, helping the continent mobilize its own resources; and three, bypassing the continent’s colonial heritage and developing a single market system. Though Kaberuka has led the mission, he says it was not without the help of all the men and women who work tirelessly at the AfDB to make his vision a reality. To all of them he said “thank you for your service.”
Donald Kaberuka, 7th President of the African Development Bank was born in Byumba, Rwanda, on October 5, 1951. He studied at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as an undergraduate and later obtained his MPhil in Development Studies from University of East Anglia in the city of Norwich in 1979. He received his PhD in economics from the University of Glasgow, UK. He worked in banking and international trade for over a decade. In October 1997 he was appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda. Kaberuka served in that position for eight years, and is credited with helping to stabilize the Rwandan economy from the effects of the 1994 genocide. In July 2005, Kaberuka was elected president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). He took office in September 2005 and helped restore the banks from the near collapse of 1995.
For an insight into Kaberuka’s success, read this http://www.afdb.org/en/projects-and-operations/