Thursday, June 04, 2015 1.03 PM / News
The electoral process and outcome of the election to replace Dr. Donald Kaberuka as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) reflect the expectations of Nigeria, the single largest shareholder of the entity and surprised a few, who had predicated their positions on the many soundbites before the elections and which echoed louder at the summit venue.
For a few discerning analysts, the predictions of Nextnomics Advisory was a refreshing positive and a plus to informed decision making.
Dr. Temitope Oshikoya, CEO Nextnomics had written an op-ed article Race for the AfDB Presidency which was published in ‘The Guardian’ of April 22, 2015
While acknowledging the attributes of the eight candidates, Nextnomics’ CEO correctly notes that the election for the President of the AfDB, an inter-governmental multilateral development finance institution, is a high-powered political and subtle diplomatic affair…..“…more importantly, and beyond professional expertise, experience and vision statement, the election of the AfDB's president is a high-powered political affair reflecting an extension of countries' foreign policy and commercial interest and sub-regional rotation.”
Dr. Oshikoya then went on to encourage, hitherto, a campaign strategy that focused on enlisting high level Nigerians, especially past, present and incoming Heads of State, which ended up making a remarkable difference to the final outcome in favor of Nigeria.
More interesting however was the prediction about the order in which candidates will be voted out.
In the piece under review, he stated thus:
“In the earlier rounds of voting usually based on country and sub-regional voting shares and linguistic affiliations, the candidates with the least vote, possibly from Eastern and Southern Africa (17% of total vote), West Africa (3.7%) ex-Nigeria, and Francophone blocs (11% of total votes) who may fully support Mali or Chad, will drop out if North Africa with about 19% of total vote support for Tunisia”.
As the actual election turned out, candidates from Sierra Leone, Mali and Ethiopia were the first set of candidates to be voted out. They were then subsequently followed by candidates from Tunisia and Zimbabwe respectively.
Nextnomics’ CEO had asserted that “Zimbabwe's candidate may be handicapped by perception of his country's image with the western countries…”
More remarkably, Dr. Oshikoya opined before the election that candidates from Cape Verde, Chad, and Nigeria would be the favorites for the final rounds. It was predicted that “while Eastern Africa and North Africa produced the two most recent presidents, Central Africa may claim that it is now its turn,” which, along with the only remaining Franco-phone candidate and with the support of France, favored Chad.
Indeed, by Monday, Proshare’s team led by its CEO Olufemi Awoyemi tweeted that Cape Verde’s Finance Minister was gaining momentum owing to posturing of some western countries. This must have energized Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and the high caliber Nigerian stakeholders to intensify consultations and discussions.
Oshikoya had anticipated something like this when in the article, he stated that “if the western countries with about 36% of total votes feel that their preferred candidate may drop out too quickly because of low votes, they will most likely coalesce around that candidate very early in the voting rounds to propel the candidate to the final round.”
Cape Verde benefitted from this networking effect as clearly predicted by Dr. Oshikoya, who has stated earlier that “Cristina Duarte is probably one to watch as the undeclared and anointed candidate of the non-African western countries partly for being the only female and a Luso-phone candidate, with both private and public sector experiences from a country with low voting shares (0.09%).”
Nextnomics’ CEO has also indicated that during the earlier rounds, “Nigeria's Adesina will scale through and possibly to the final rounds given the country's 9.3% total shareholding (16% of Africa's 60% vote).”
While outlining the profile of each of the candidates, Dr. Oshikoya has noted that “Based on depth of professional qualifications and breadth of experiences, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture, is one of the front-runners. He has international development and in-country experience spread across 14 other Anglophone and Francophone countries in West, East and Southern Africa.”
Dr. Oshikoya strongly made a case that “being the largest shareholder and with a positive image from its successful elections, Nigeria could also note that it is also its own turn, especially with a South African now head of the African Union, which breaks a long-standing unwritten rule that the SANE countries - South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, and Egypt with a combined GDP of over half of Africa's - should not be the head of continental organizations.”
The election of Nigeria’s candidate as AfDB’s president is the right outcome for the AfDB.
History has shown us this in the case of other Multilateral Development Banks where leadership positions are assumed by the key players… e.g. The USA heads the World Bank and effectively occupies number two positions at the IMF, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank (which Japan always head), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (which France, Germany, and United Kingdom, the EU’s power house, has each headed).
With its new democratic credentials, it’s economic and population sizes, Africa’s largest on both counts; Nigeria is poised to assume its leadership position on the continent and should use the opportunity to raise the bar.
1. Race for the AfDB Presidency