Ghana, the host country of the African Development Bank Group’s 2021 Annual Meetings, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the institution on Friday, marking an important milestone in preparations for the event.
The 56th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank and the 47th Annual Meeting of the African Development Fund are scheduled to take place from 24 to 28 May 2021, in Ghana’s capital city, Accra.
Ghanaian Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta, the current chair of the Bank’s Boards of Governors, signed the MOU on the country’s preparedness to host the event at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance office in Accra. Prof. Vincent O. Nmehielle, African Development Bank Group Secretary General, signed on behalf of the Bank Group.
The meeting began with a minute of silence in honour of former Ghanaian president Jerry John Rawlings, who died on Thursday 12 November, with both signatories paying their respects.
In remarks following the signing, Minister Ofori-Atta said he had carefully reviewed the MOU and found it satisfactory. “The signing is yet another indication of our strong commitment to delivering on all the requirements for hosting of the 2021 AGM. As a country, our interest in this event has not diminished. At the highest level, the commitment is visible,” he said.
“We promise to champion African excellence and deliver a befitting event. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that this is a seminal event.”
The ceremony was witnessed by Finance Ministry officials, a representative of the Bank of Ghana, African Development Bank Acting Country Manager Sebastian Okeke and representatives from the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.
Thanking Minister Ofori-Atta for his leadership in the preparations, Prof. Nmehielle said Ghana had been selected to host the meetings in 2016 during the Annual Meetings in Lusaka, Zambia, following the country’s expression of interest.
The Secretary General said due to the unpredictable evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MOU provided three scenarios for the conduct of the meetings: a full-fledged meeting as per the Bank’s normal practice, limited Annual Meetings, focusing only on statutory matters, and virtual Annual Meetings.
“I am delighted that we are here today to sign the MOU. I would like to assure you of the Bank’s full commitment and availability to accompany the Government of Ghana on this journey,” Prof. Nmehielle said.
While the situation on the ground would determine which scenario would be adopted as they got closer to the event, “it is heartwarming to learn that Ghana is working on preparations for the full-fledged Annual Meetings,” Prof. Nmehielle said.
The Bank Group’s Annual Meetings are the most important annual statutory event, at which the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the African Development Fund meet and review Bank Group activities over the previous year.
The 2020 Annual Meetings were held virtually for the first time in the Bank’s history, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The highlight of the scaled-back meetings was the election of Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, for a new five-year term.
The meetings usually draw some 3,500 participants, including finance ministers, governors of central banks, policy makers, civil society groups, heads of international organisations and business leaders from the Bank Group’s member states.
Ghana has been a member of the Bank Group since its inception in 1963.