Statements & Remarks

Statement by the Acting Governor for the United States of America, on the Occasion of the 2021 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group

The United States is pleased to join these meetings together with our partners focused on Africa’s development. The African Development Bank Group will play a crucial role on the continent in overcoming and accelerating recovery from the pandemic and laying the groundwork for strong future growth and development.

The international community needs to come together to support African countries in a robust, inclusive, and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. First, we acknowledge the importance of and are committed to accelerating the availability of vaccines across Africa. We urge others to also step up efforts to support the global vaccination effort in order to boost the prospects for a return to stronger growth. Recovery also presents an opportunity to see through long-needed structural transformations that will make African economies more resilient to future shocks. This includes measures to increase transparency and accountability, and to address the governance challenges that too often fuel cycles of corruption, conflict, and poverty.

The pandemic has exacerbated the debt burdens facing countries across the continent, especially those dependent on tourism and commodities. The international community has helped alleviate some pressures thanks to the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the Common Framework, along with a proposed new allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights. At the national level, we encourage African authorities to accelerate efforts to strengthen public financial management, improve debt management and transparency, and incentivize sustainable debt accumulation. We welcome the Bank’s plans to build African capacity in developing domestic capital markets.

The AfDB has been at the leading edge of aligning African investments for a sustainable and green recovery. African nations stand to suffer among the most severe consequences from climate change. Through timely and well-targeted programs focused on agricultural resiliency and sustainable livestock development the Bank can help make African economies more inclusive and resilient. We applaud Management’s goal of mobilizing $25 billion for adaptation and resilience by 2025. The Bank can also help countries address the economic and social transition to cleaner sources of energy. We look forward to the Bank’s approval of a new climate change and green growth strategy and urge an ambitious timetable for aligning its activities with the Paris Agreement.

Management has made sustained progress over the last year towards meeting the reform commitments under the Seventh General Capital Increase even as the pandemic has placed further constraints on the Bank’s finances. We commend the Bank for updating the Bank’s financial sustainability model, and we urge sustained attention to the pricing, cost containment, and capital buffers that will complete the framework. Africa needs its regional development bank to be financially strong and prudently managed to provide steady support to member countries.

The Bank must maintain focus to consolidate its institutional reform agenda, even in the current environment. In particular, we urge greater collaboration with shareholders to finalize the total compensation review, fine tune the organizational structure, and strengthen the ability of the oversight, accountability, and compliance units to operate free from influence, including by hiring a new Evaluator General. We look forward to the completion of the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Reform of Governance Instruments and taking forward the recommendations from that work, as appropriate.

The United States looks forward to strong cooperation with our African partners in the AfDB to advance our shared goals for a resilient and prosperous Africa in the coming year. We look forward to meeting again in person when circumstances permit.