Friday, 8 November 2013

Kaberuka is African of the year 2013


Dr. Donald Kaberuka

African Development Bank President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, has been named African of the year 2013 by the continent’s media for his role in pushing an African-funded model that seeks to reduce donor dependence in delivering big infrastructure projects.

The award was announced on Thursday during African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The former Rwandan Finance minister was particularly recognised for rolling out the Africa50 Fund, which seeks to boost infrastructure on the continent.

The US$50,000 award is sponsored by the Daily Trust newspaper of Nigeria, run by Nigerian tycoon Malam Kabiru Yusuf.

The prize is seen as a tacit acknowledgment of African media agreement with the choice.

The Africa50 Fund was endorsed in May 2013 by African Finance Ministers during the Bank’s annual meetings in Marrakech, where Kaberuka underscored the critical role of infrastructure in Africa’s development.

“The one thing which can really slow down the recent performance in its tracks is infrastructure,” he said. “No country in the world has been able to maintain 7 per cent GPD growth and above (sustainably) unless the infrastructure bottleneck is overcome.”

The Fund, which is backed by African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa and other key development financiers on the continent, seeks to raise money for transformational development projects from African central bank reserves, pension and sovereign wealth funds, the African Diaspora and high net worth individuals on the continent.

During the awarding ceremony, Dr Ahmed Salim Ahmed, Tanzania’s former foreign minister, said the Fund was significant, coming in the 50th anniversary year of African Union, according to a statement.

“This award is for his bringing to fruition the idea of domestically financed development. The Africa50 Fund is changing the game in delivery of infrastructure. In Africa, we must take ownership of our own development… We are proud to honour an idea whose time has come. Dr Kaberuka has shown what Africa should do,” Ahmed, also former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity (current African Union), said.

Exemplary contribution

The award is open to all Africans and it is given in recognition of exemplary contribution to African development in any sphere of human endeavor.

The award will be presented at a ceremony slated for January 15 in Abuja.

Kaberuka is currently serving his second five-year term as President of AfDB. He was first elected in 2005, becoming the seventh president of the Bank Group since its establishment in 1963.

He was re-elected in May 2010 at the AfDB’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for a second five-year term.

Before joining AfDB,  Kaberuka, 61, had a distinguished career in banking, international trade and development and government service. He was Rwanda Minister of Finance and Economic Planning between 1997 and 2005. .

He initiated and implemented major economic reforms and introduced new systems of structural, monetary and fiscal governance, laying special emphasis on the independence of Rwanda’s central bank.

These reforms led to the widely-recognised revival of Rwanda’s economy, and to the sustained economic growth that enabled Rwanda to obtain debt cancellation under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative in April 2005.

Winners are selected through a transparent process from a pool of candidates who have been validly nominated at the award site

Past recipients include Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic Of Congo for 2008, the late pan-Africanist Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem of Nigeria for 2009,  Danny Jordaan of South Africa for 2010, former Chief Justice of Niger, Fatimata Salifou Bazeye for 2011, and the former South African President, Thabo Mbeki who won last year.

Kaberuka is African of the year 2013


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