6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Emergent Africa: The Role of African Multilateral Institutions in Trade and Investment, Development, and Poverty Reduction

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

On April 16, 2015, the Wilson Center Africa Program hosted Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, for a special session on trade, investment, and sustainable development.

As president of the AfDB for the past 10 years, Dr. Kaberuka has been at the forefront of Africa's development agenda during a period of dramatic transformation.

During his presentation, Dr. Kaberuka discussed how Africa was seen as a very risky, exotic market for a long time. Since the turn of the millennium however, those risks have declined. Africa now faces a new set of risks, including the still high costs of doing business in many countries and a lack of regulation in several markets. The African Development Bank is focused on addressing these new risks. The Bank has also turned its attention to supporting African countries in funding their own development through sound financial management, better use of market resources, and a reliance on domestic savings. Another priority for the Bank, according to Dr. Kaberuka, is to create a single market out of the fragmented markets of each country and to increase the free movement of people between countries.

Dr. Kaberuka also discussed new challenges facing the African Development Bank and other multinational banks today. He stated that while these institutions were created when there were strong east/west and north/south divides, these environments no longer exist, and the banks need to learn how to work within the new paradigm. Furthermore, countries now have several other alternatives to borrowing from big international banks. They can leverage private capital or turn to foreign direct investment, both of which exceeded the amount of international development aid given to Africa in 2014. Dr. Kaberuka articulated that multinational development banks must address past issues, such as ineffective policies, if they want to continue to exist in this new economic environment.

Thumbnail image courtesy of OECD Development Centre via Flickr Commons. Image cropped.



  • Dr. Donald Kaberuka

    African Union High Representative for Financing of the Union and Peace Fund and 7th President of the African Development Bank (2005-2015)