By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria has increased its stake and voting rights in the African Development Bank (AfDB) to 16.8 per cent ahead of the regional lender’s annual meetings which officially kickstarts today.
With the move, Nigeria extends its privileges, making it the biggest rights holder, more than double of non-regional members, Germany which has 7.4 per cent and triples that of the United States which has 5.5 per cent.
Nigeria boosted its voting power by paying subscriptions it had pledged as part of a general capital increase, for which the bulk of payments are expected to be made before the final deadline in October 2021.
The move has been touted to help keep Mr Akinwunmi Adesina at the position of the bank’s president for another five-year term when the votes take place on August 27.
Unlike in 2015, when he contested against Chadian Finance Minister Kordje Bedoumra and Cape Verde’s Agriculture Minister Cristina Duarte, Mr Adesina is currently the sole candidate seeking re-election.
Business Post had reported that the annual meetings will take place virtually after they were postponed in May because of the spread of the coronavirus. This will be the first time in the AfDB’s 56-year history that the event will hold online as preventive measures made it impossible for the bank’s governors to gather together in person.
The election of the president and meetings of the lender’s board of governors are the main topics set down for the two-day online gathering, which begins on Wednesday.
Last month, an independent panel backed the bank’s internal probe that in May said it found no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr Adesina, 60. His innocence cleared the way for his bid to seek re-election as head of the continent’s biggest multilateral lender.
The probe was initiated after unidentified whistleblowers accused Mr Adesina of handing contracts to acquaintances and appointing relatives to strategic positions at the Abidjan-based lender.
In March, the lender issued a $3 billion social bond to help African countries deal with the fallout from the pandemic. The bank also launched a $10 billion crisis-response facility for African nations. Its shareholders include 54 nations on the African continent and 27 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.
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