AfDB boss faces dissent ahead of re-election bid

Saturday April 11 2020

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank. PHOTO | DIAN ANGILA | NATION


The African Development Bank (AfDB) is battling internal wrangles after some employees accused its president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, of multiple abuses and breaches of the bank’s code of ethics.

Dr Adesina has denied the accusations, terming them “spurious and unfounded allegations” that will not distract him from discharging his mandate of leading the institution.

“I will stay calm and resolute. I will not be distracted. No amount of lies can ever cover up the truth. Soon the truth will come out,” he said in a statement.

However, a communication by a group of concerned staff members has exposed deeply-rooted internal wrangles ignited by discontent with Dr Adesina’s leadership style that they contend is characterised by disregard of the bank’s rules.

In the communication addressed to the bank’s governors, the staff accuse Dr Adesina of breaching the bank’s code of conduct, unethical conduct, private gain, impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, adversely affecting confidence in the integrity of the bank and involvement in political activity.

“Our objective is to trigger investigations that will confirm or infirm these alleged cases of breach by the president of the code of conduct and so encourage ethical action and discourage or prevent fraud, corruption or misconduct and increase accountability,” says the communication.


The staff accuse Dr Adesina of lack of respect of internal rules and regulations in recruitment and went ahead to highlight numerous cases of nepotism and favourism.

According to the staff, although they filed the complaints in January to the bank’s ethics and audit committee in line with its whistle-blowing policy, no action was taken.

Notably, the accusations against Dr Adesina come at a time when he is seeking a second five-year term at the helm of Africa’s foremost development finance institution. The election is slated to take place at the bank’s annual meeting of governors in May in Abidjan.