AfDB is a force multiplier

Deputy President William Ruto during an Economy Panel at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. With him is African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina (centre) and Morocco's Industry Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy./FILE
Deputy President William Ruto during an Economy Panel at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. With him is African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina (centre) and Morocco's Industry Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy./FILE

African Development Bank and its erudite President

Akinwumi Adesina dialled up Kenya this month. President Adesina amongst many things sports a vivacious bow-tie on most occasions. President Kenyatta who is clearly partial to the AfDB President arrived about thirty minutes early for an Africa50 function I attended.

I said to President Adesina, ''In my experience,

that is unbelievable and off the charts and it speaks to the esteem with which you are evidently held.''

Subsequently, and after a visit to State House, I noted President Kenyatta announced the following via Tweet


''I have directed all govt accounting officers including Principal Secretaries, Parastatal Heads, Vice Chancellors of Public Universities & Chairmen of State Corporations that there will be no new government projects that will be embarked on until those that are ongoing are complete.''

I thought to myself, that is influence for you. AfDB president operates in a very subtle and


Tzu way. He was elected eighth President of the African Development Bank on

May 28, 2015. Before that, he was

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and before that he was at AGRA here in Nairobi.

The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.

The AfDB’s mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the region. The Mission statement has been reinterpreted and fine tuned under the Banner

Headline ''The High 5s''

The ''High 5'' is a hand gesture that occurs when two people simultaneously raise one hand each, about head-high, and push, slide, or slap the flat of their palm against the flat palm of the other person. The gesture is often preceded verbally by a phrase like "Give me five", "High five", or "Up high." Its meaning varies with the context of use but can include as a greeting, congratulations, or celebration.

The use of the phrase as a noun has been part of the Oxford English Dictionary since 1980 and as a verb since 1981.The phrase is related to the slang "give me five" which is a request for some form of handshake – variations include "slap me five", "slip me five", "give me (some) skin" – with "five" referring to the number of fingers on a hand.

Linguistics is much under-estimated but the choice of ''High 5'' is typical of the AfDB, its very ''Can-Do'' and ''Yes we can'' which I found is exactly the correct starting point for practically anything.

The High 5s are to: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa. I

don't think you will find anyone who is going to argue with these coordinates. According to the latest data,

Cumulative loans signed, net of cancelations, as at

31 December 2017

amounted to $62.33b and total

disbursed and outstanding loans as at

31 December 2017

was $24.88b. The scale of the bank is seen in its plan to raise

$8 billion from the global capital markets in 2018.

Here in Kenya the AfDB has a $3.1b Portfolio that spans ''The Last Mile Project'' [i.e. switching on the lightbulb at the Household level] Lake Turkana Wind Power, the Ethiopia-Kenya Power Interconnection, the Thika Super-Highway, the road to Ethiopia and various lending

programs which seek to stimulate the SME sector. This is not an exhaustive List.

The AfDB is a ''Force-Multiplier''. Each dollar it puts to work has a multiplier effect. Where the AfDB leads, others follow. It would be interesting to scientifically

measure the ''Multiplier'' Ratio.

i came across this

Jorge Luis Borges quote on the AfDB web site

“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.”

President Adesina spoke about how the private sector need to ''influence'' and I was left thinking about how Africa is not one Country but 55. One of our singular disadvantages is that marshalling 55 voices into one voice is no easy task.

In my opinion, the AfDB is probably the premier voice articulating a Pan-African

vision and advocating in the Pan-African interest. This is crucial if we, as a continent,are to move meaningfully into the future that our more

than a billion fellow Africans are wishing for.