AfDB Finally Bows To Pressure From The US To probe Adesina As the African Lender Bank Approves $288.5 million Loan For Nigeria

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

The  crisis in the African  Development  Bank which had  almost  cost Akinwumi Adesina,  a former minister of Agriculture and Rural   Development, under former President Good Jonathan his job as President of the African Development Bank, AfDB,  was  far  from being over.

This is because  the Niale Kaba  led   AfDB, Bureau of Board of Governors,  had finally   bowed to pressure  from the  North American country  of the United States, which has 6.5 percent shares in the African lender Bank  to conduct  an independent investigation  into the  allegations  of embezzlement, award of contracts to close associates , appointment of Nigerians to  strategic positions in the  Bank under the close watch of Adesina.

 The  Bureau of Board  Governors of the AfDB,  were  said to have   reached the decision On Thursday,  May 28, 2020  at  a meeting presided over by  Kaba,  the Chairman,  at the Bank Headquarters  building at Abidjan, Cote dÍvore.  The Board  was also said to have approved  multi-million dollar loans  for  some African countries to help in tackling the  Wuhan  Town  in Hebei Province of  the Asian  country of China emerged  coronavirus, popular, COVID 19,and mitigate the impact on people and businesses in their respective countries.

This may have informed  why  the African Leaders   have pledged  to support Adesina re-election bid for another 5-year term.  Morso, the African Leaders had  kicked against the probe of the the AfDB,  President which  was  being master- minded  by the US, describing as a negation of the African Lender Bank ethics.

 the embattled AfDB, President  may have known from the onset that  that the US  and  their  Collaborators both within and outside the Continent   were after his job in order  to whittle down Nigerian influence in the Bank  that  he was said to have mobilised his  supporters in the Board  to the loan for the African countries.   The Board as said to have approved $288.5 million loan  for Nigeria.

In spite of the fact that   the sum of  $288.5 million  was approved  for the country by the  African  Lender  Bank on May 28, 2020, it broke the cherry News   to the  Nigerian government   on Friday, June 5, 2020.The facility   , according to a ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning source  was  the  Bank’s first major  support  to Nigeria,  since the outbreak of the pandemic  last February.  

 Many believe that President  Muhammadu Buhari may have   prepared the ground  for the loan  when he had a closed  door  meeting with the AfDB President  and other top government Functionaries on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, over the  alleged   allegations of Corruptions  leveled    against him by some  whistle blowers  and  aggrieved Staff which  Adesina had considered as spurious .

The Katsina born  Nigerian  President  was  said to have assured him at the meeting of the government  support in mobolising other African Leaders to endorse his re-election bid , notwithstanding the Opposition of the  US, which has 6.5 percent shares in the  Bank next to Nigeria.

Prior to the  AfDB, loan, the government had approached the International  Monetary Fund, IMF, and secured a $3.4 billion Facility.   Note that the government may  have  considered  the IMF  approved loan as  inadequate that it requested the National Assembly to give  it  approval  to source for an additional $5.5 billion  from other multi-lateral Financial Institutions. It got it.  Recall, that the Lawmakers had earlier approved the government request to source for N800 billion locally to finance basic infrastructural facilities in the country.

 Financial analyst  believe  that the  country  needed the AfDB  loan most at this trying  and difficult times that the economy had  contracted so much   as a result of the COVID 19. Prior to the outbreak of the disease and the slump in oil price in the International market, the Nigeria  economy  had been projected  to grow  by 2.9 %  of the Gross Domestic Product in 2020  and  further expand  by 3.3 %  in 2021 by the Economic Managers.  Hajia  Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning reportedly   said  that  it may  contract  further to 7.2 %, if the COVID 19, persist .

AAlthough,   the IMF, may not  have  devised measures to monitor the use of the $3.4  billion Facility granted the country in April, but the Bureau of Board of Govrnors of the  AfDB,  were said to have sent  a signal to the government  that it will monitor the  spending of the $288.5 million COVID 19, Funds,  granted the country to ensure that it was used for the purpose in  which  it was  approved: addressing the pandemic  impact on the  people and businesses.

 The African Lender Bank Board  were said to have made it  clear  to the government  that  it will maintain  regular  dialogue, particular, with the  office of the Auditor- General of the Federation  ‘’to  ensure adherence  to the transparency  and accountability  in the use of the Funds’’.

In a related development, the AfDB, Board  were said to have to have approved the country’s  Strategy Papers, CSP, 2024,  which, The Magazine gathered   had  been turned  down in the past at the May 27, 2020 meeting. The  approved  socio-economic advancement  document was said to have been built on the successes  and Challenges  of the 2013-2019 edition of the CSP, which  had  incorporated  the emerging developmental realities and opportunities  that could shape the country’s  political and  economic landscape including the post- COVID 19. 

Given an insider information on the CSP, Ebrima Faal, a senior Director for the Bank , disclosed that  in the implementation of the  strategies  in the Document  for the country’s  social-economic advancement, it will not hesitate to support Nigeria   to address the economic shocks  associated with the coronavirus disease and oil price shocks in the international market by focusing  its intervention  measures in the various sectors of the economy  that will strengthen public health infrastructural  development and accelerate efforts  towards the country’s economic transformation  and diversification of  the export market to improve earnings and fiscal revenue from the oil sector.

Recall that as at December, 2019, the Bank’s Group  active portfolio   in the oil rich Nigeria comprised   61 operations, with a total commitment  of  $5 billion. Note that that of the  total active portfolios,  29, were in public sector, with a commitment of $2 billion and 32 non  -sovereign operations  with a total  commitment of   $3 billion.       

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