Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Finance Minister, lost his candidacy at the ongoing Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) at the Election for the Office of President of the Bank. Sufian was the second cadidate to be eliminated from eight contenders running for the office. Samura M. W. Kamara of Sierra Leone was eliminated first.
The Steering Committee of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which met on 11 February, 2015 at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, has agreed on a list of eight candidates to run for the bank’s presidency. Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia’s long serving Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) was one of the eight.
Sufian and the rest of the candidates hinted on running for the presidency in May last year during the Banks’ annual summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Donald Kaberuka, the current President of the Bank, will be leaving his post of the last ten years by the end of this year. The other candidates expected to run for the top job include: Birma Boubacar Sidibe, Vice President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Samura Kamara, Sierra Leoone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jalloul Ayed, Tunisia’s former Minister of Finance, Kordje Bedoumra, Chad’s Minister of Finance, Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Cristina Duarte, Cape Verde’s Minister of Finance and Planning, and also the only woman to run.
Big shoes to fill
Donald Kaberuka is a Glasgow educated economist who was the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning for eight years from 1997 to 2005 in his native Rwanda and is globally credited for stabilizing the Rwandan economy in post 1994 genocide that deprived his country of its finest academicians, as well as its ordinary citizens.
In July 2005 Donald Kaberuka was elected president of AfDB and took office the next September. Under his leadership the pan-African institution, which celebrated its 50th year Golden jubilee last November, was in 2013, rated “Aaa/Prime-1, with a stable outlook,” by Moody’s, which further said, “The Bank’s ratings reflect a combination of its intrinsic financial strength, prudent financial management and policies and very strong shareholder support.”
This was despite the bank has operated in exile starting from two years prior to the coming of Donald Kaberuka as its president. AfDB moved its headquarters to Tunis, Tunisia, in 2003 following the civil war in Cote d’Ivoire, where it was housed since it was first established. The bank has partially moved to its home Cote d’Ivoire in time for its 50th year Golden jubilee.
Along with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IAfDB), the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), and the World Bank (WB) AfDB brings the number of multinational development banks in the world to five.
In his position for more than 20 years, Sufian Ahmed is known to many as a ‘veteran’ who supervised his country’s finance through the thick and thin. He is also credited for brining a galloping inflation that had picked a high of more than 50% in the aftermath of the 2005 disputed election to its current single digit. Sufian is also the man who has helped Ethiopia achieve the double digit economic growth that put the country as one of the top five non-oil producing fast growing economies in the continent, according to the IMF.
However, Sufian is known to many as a non-socializing individual and lacking in his grip of continent-wide dynamics of socio-political affairs. His lack of other languages widely used in the continent, particularly French, one of the working languages of the bank, is also considered a big minus for his candidacy. Sufian has also not enjoyed a crucial backing from his government at home while heads of state for other candidates were seen lobbying for their candidates as back from May 2014.
Sufian holds bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s degree in economic development and planning from the country’s grand university, the Addis Ababa University (AAU).
Cover Photo: Sufian Ahmed
Photo: Addis Fortune