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Nigeria Doubles African Development Bank Rights Before Key Vote

By Leanne de Bassompierre, Bloomberg, August 23, 2020

Nigeria has almost doubled its voting rights in the African Development Bank to 16.8% before the lender’s annual meetings next week, as one of its own seeks re-election at the helm of the lender after being cleared of allegations of wrongdoing.

Africa’s most populous nation became the biggest rights holder by far, followed by so called non-regional members Germany with 7.4% and the U.S. with 5.5%, according to a memorandum sent to governors on Aug. 20 that was seen by Bloomberg.

Nigeria boosted its voting power by paying subscriptions it had pledged as part of a general capital before the January deadline.

The move may allow Nigeria to help keep Akinwumi Adesina in the presidency for another five-year term when the vote takes place on Aug. 27.

Unlike in 2015 when he faced off against Chadian Finance Minister Kordje Bedoumra and Cape Verde’s Agriculture Minister Cristina Duarte, this time he is the sole candidate.

The annual meetings will take place virtually between Aug. 25 and 27 after they were postponed in May because of the spread of the coronavirus.

“The format of the meetings has been adapted to consider the physical constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said on it website.

Last month, an independent panel backed an African Development Bank probe that found no evidence of wrongdoing by Adesina, 60, in his bid to seek re-election as head of the continent’s biggest multilateral lender.

The decisions was also a rebuff to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose rejection of the the institution’s ethics committee’s original report led to the review. The probe was initiated after unidentified whistleblowers accused Adesina of handing contracts to acquaintances and appointing relatives to strategic positions at the Abidjan-based lender.

The AfDB is Africa’s biggest multilateral bank. In March, the lender issued a $3 billion social bond to help African countries deal with the fallout from the pandemic.

The bank also launched a $10 billion crisis-response facility for African nations. Its shareholders include 54 nations on the African continent and 27 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

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