Former World Bank Treasurer Arunma Oteh has gone into bat for her former colleague Akunwumi Adesina the under pressure president of the African Development Bank. Oteh – now an academic scholar at the University of Oxford- spoke to Kenneth Igbomor of CNBC Africa’s Lagos bureau.
CNBC Africa: Your take on the recent developments at the African Development Bank?
Arunma Oteh:“Indeed I’ve worked for the African Development Bank for 17 years in a variety of roles and also as you’ve mentioned, most recently as Group Treasurer for the World Bank for little over 3 years. I do think that the issues that has developed are unfortunate. Particularly because of the difficult times that the world is facing in respect to Covid-19. Also I’ve known Dr Adesina, the President of African Development Bank for several years and I can attest to the fact that he’s not only a great leader but he is a man of upmost integrity.
Most recently, when he was Minister of Agriculture, I was the Director-General of the Securities & Exchange Commission in Nigeria, and he and his team worked with my team and I on leveraging the capital markets to transform the agricultural sector of Nigeria. But I think also important is that we cannot lose sight of the fact that the African Development Bank and multilateral banks generally add credible institutions and highly rated in parts because of the best practice governance and stringent processes. In fact the African Development Bank has more rigorous processes in many cases then some of the other development banks. So let’s take one issue is a critical governance issue which is a selection process for the leadership of the bank.
If you take for example the Asian Development Bank, its President has always been Japanese – its largest shareholder. The World Bank – whose largest shareholder is the United States – the President has always been since 1947 when the World Bank has been established – has always been an American. For the African Development Bank it’s different. The process is a competitive, rigorous process that allows any candidates endorsed by