US World Bank Nominee Ajay Banga Promises to Work with Africa, AfDB

March 8, 2023
Ajay Banga

By Adedapo Adesanya

The United States nominee for World Bank Group President, Mr Ajay Banga, began his global tour on Monday, with his first stop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, where he met the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, and other senior management and Board of Directors.

Mr Banga was announced by US President, Mr Joe Biden, on February 23, as the country’s nominee for President of the World Bank Group. The institution’s current president, Mr David Malpass, recently announced his intention to step down by the end of June 2023.

Speaking at the multilateral lender headquarters, Mr Banga spoke about the need for the World Bank Group to develop a strong partnership with the bank group that would help deliver transformative results.

The US candidate for the World Bank’s top job highlighted three major issues affecting many parts of the world, which he said were of significant concern to him.

He said these were inequality, the tension between humanity and nature, and the tendency to apply short-term solutions to long-term problems which only deliver poor results.

Mr Banga said the challenges facing the world got complicated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental degradation, and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine War.

The former Mastercard CEO emphasized the role of technology in helping to tackle challenges facing the world. He also talked about the role of the private sector in mobilizing much-needed capital resources for significant economic development. He said this applied both to private sector capital as well as to private sector ingenuity and innovation, which are needed to tackle the many challenges facing the world.

On his part, Mr Adesina said Mr Banga’s call for a regenerated partnership resonated with him. He stressed the need for a new way of working between the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

“It is more than financial. It’s more about how we work to optimize resources by engaging governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to deliver meaningful change,” he said.

Mr Adesina said climate change remained the most serious existential threat to humanity, stressing that, “Climate change is decimating lives, displacing people, creating refugees, and deepening poverty.”

“It is what I call the triangle of disaster. You have increasing poverty, rising youth unemployment, and environmental degradation, and this is a breeding ground for terrorism,” he warned.

The AfDB head called for a global security council on environment and biodiversity, issues which he said were not getting the attention they deserved compared to other global challenges such as war.

Mr Adesina also called for a new way of measuring the wealth of nations instead of basing it on gross domestic product.

“This does not consider important factors like a country’s contribution to carbon emission and impact on biodiversity.”

“Globally, there is a need for greater responsibility to tackle the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and protect biodiversity,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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