Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Adesina Hounded For Doing What is ”as usual” in Nigeria

Nigeria opposes calls by the U.S. Treasury for an independent probe into whistleblowerallegations that Adesina awarded contracts to friends and relatives, after an earlier internal investigation cleared him.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo called for several African ex-presidents to reject the U.S. request on the basis that it “ridicules” the bank. Bowing to U.S. pressure might “mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa,” he wrote in a May 26 letter verified by his spokesman.

The dispute has drawn in other AfDB members, with the U.K., the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria among those who’ve joined Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the U.S.’s call for an external investigation, according to country representatives.
Pan-African Response

In Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone are backing Adesina, who’s also won praise from the African Union, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and gathered support on social media via #IStandWithAdesina. Harold Doley, the U.S.’s first representative to the AfDB in 1983, asked his country to “walk in lockstep with (its) fellow African governors” by supporting Adesina, in a letter addressed to the Treasury.

“The bank as an institution concerns not only Nigeria but the whole of Africa,” said Grieve Chelwa, who teaches economics at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. “The bank is one of the most important institutions Africa has. In the coming days, we will see some sort of pan-African response with more countries joining in.”

The U.S. has a 6.5% stake in the AfDB, the largest shareholding after Nigeria, which held 9.1% as of November. The 56-year-old institution allowed non-regional countries to join in 1982, and now has 54 shareholders from Africa and 27 from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Members in October pledged to provide funding that will more than double the AfDB’s capital base to $208 billion.

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