• World - Africa
  • Updated: May 28, 2020

How U.S Face-Off With Akinwumi Adesina Exposes Economic Slavery In AfDB

The United States has been pulling strings to back up its confrontation with the current President of African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, and things are going its way. The AfDB bowing to pressure for an independent probe as demanded by the United States exposed the economic slavery former President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari tried to prevent during his time as commissioner of finance in Nigeria.

The AfDB's ethics committee had conducted an investigation into various allegations against Adesina. The accusations range from using his position as AfDB President for private gain, being an impediment to efficiency, showing preferential treatment, bribery of ECOWAS members, involving in political activity, and making questionable appointments and departures; all allegations Adesina have denied.

After the conclusion of the probe, Adesina was absolved of any wrongdoings by the ethics committee of the largest African lender. However, due to the rejection of the probe by U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, AfDB decided to dent the image of its ethics committee by embracing the demand of the U.S and abandon its President to the faith of an outsider.

How Faceoff Exposes Economic Slavery In AfDB

In order to know why the AfDB succumbed to the United States demand without insisting on its ethics committee's report, the foundation of AfDB needs to be understood. AfDB was created in 1964 to limit the powers of western countries on African countries. The establishment of AfDB was supposed to give African countries economic independence and financial freedom from the grip of western countries who could use their financial power to control poor African countries in need of funds for development projects.

So the influence and contribution from non-African countries were limited. However, 50-years after, AfDB's financial capability depends on the U.S and other western countries, as the U.S is the second-largest shareholder in AfDB behind Nigeria. While Nigeria is the largest shareholder with 9.3% shares, the U.S comes next with 6.3%.

Out of 80 members of AfDB, there are 26 non-African countries. In the top ten largest shareholders of AfDB, there are five non-African countries; USA, Japan, Germany, Canada and France - all of which account for 40% stake in AfDB, due to their high capital subscription or financial contribution. The 40% gives the U.S and its allies - most of which supported the demand for an independent probe - a controlling wand in internal dealings of a financial institution meant to be owned by African countries solely.

This contradicts the very reason for AfDB's existence. With non-African countries accounting for almost half of the shares of the lender, AfDB loses its economic independence and restore colonisation through the economy, thereby, falling into the control of the U.S and its allies whenever the bank's activities don't favour or align with the non-African countries; a reason why AfDB succumbed to the U.S demand.

Currently, no African leader has reacted publicly to the faceoff despite Adesina receiving their backing for another term months before the faceoff became intense. But with AfDB accepting the demand of the U.S, much has already been said with the action to ignore AfDB's ethics committee's findings and rather opt for the independent probe. The election for the President of AfDB is supposed to hold today, however, nothing has been stated as regards that.

Shagari Saw This Coming

Non-African countries were initially just contributors to the African Development Fund, a segment of AfDB, but they began to demand for a more dominant role in AfDB with the promise of offering more capital to aid the growth of African countries. During his time as the Commissioner of Finance under General Yakubu Gowon's military regime, Shehu Shagari protested against increasing the influence of non-African countries in AfDB, stating that it will negate the objectives of AfDB.

According to Shagari in his book 'Beckoned To Serve', Nigeria, Algeria and Libya opposed the move in order to avoid interference from non-African countries. In order to provide more capital for poorer African countries, Shagari initiated the Nigerian Trust Fund in AfDB - according to Shagari, Nigeria's condition for establishing the NTF was that "Under no circumstance should the bank's equity be offered to non-Africans in the future".

However, in 1981, AfDB requested for approval to allow non-African countries to have equity participation, but only Nigeria opposed the request, while other African countries supported. Nigeria veto the vote on Shagari's instruction  After holding out for two years, Shagari said Nigeria finally caved in as other African countries failed to pay their annual contribution and the faceoff between Nigeria and other African countries was hurting AfDB, as Nigeria couldn't "single-handedly rescue the bank from its acute financial dilemma." - that's how Africa went back to square one; economic slavery.

Related Topics

Join our Telegram platform to get news update Join Now
Olalekan Fakoyejo
Olalekan Fakoyejo

Fakoyejo Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ)....

More From this Author

0 Comment(s)


See this post in...