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African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka 'Infrastructure is the beginning of the beginning'

Brookings hosted African Development Bank (ADB) President, Donald Kaberuka, today at their HQ  in Washington, DC for a conversation on 'A New Agenda for African Development Finance in the 21st Century'. President Kaberuka offered a new paradigm for investment in Africa during the changing global aid climate--one that leverages donor investment to support private sector investment outcomes. He stressed the critical nature of infrastructure investment comparable to the 'superhighway' constructed that has facilitated the growth of a manfacturing industry moving products to market.  He cited the continued challenge of lack of access to and the high cost of electricity precluding businesses from succeeding, job creation for youth, and technology advances, such as support for the construction of fiber optic cables supporting telecommunications for the continent. While supporting clean energy development value, he noted pragmatically that energy sourcing must be the goal so that economic growth can advance for individuals and African countries. African Development Bank has developed a new human capital strategy that will be reviewed by a subcommittee of its Board next month.

From Brookings: 

On October 10, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, for a conversation on African development finance for the 21st century.  Kaberuka discussed the importance of finding new and efficient ways to leverage private capital, as well as maximizing and sharing revenues from African countries’ natural resources.  

Donald Kaberuka is currently serving his second term as president of the African Development Bank.  Prior to joining the bank, he served as finance minister for Rwanda from 1997-2005, during which time he oversaw the country’s successful economic reconstruction after the end of its civil war.  During Kaberuka’s tenure at the AfDB, it has become Africa’s premier financial institution, including a doubling of its loans and grants in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.  Today, its active portfolio stands at $25 billion, some two-thirds of which is spent on infrastructure.  In 2012, the AfDB committed around $7 billion, and has just completed its latest replenishment of the African Development Fund.

Deputy Director of the Brookings Global Economy and Development program Homi Kharas provided introductory remarks.  Brookings Senior Fellow Mwangi S. Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative, moderated the discussion.