LIBERIA: Pres. Sirleaf in Abidjan For AfDB Annual Meetings

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf departed the country Sunday to attend the Annual Meetings of the Africa Development Bank Group (AfDB) which takes place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from May 25 to 29.

The 50th Annual Meetings of the AfDB Board of Governors and the 41st Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Bank’s concessionary window, the African Development Fund (ADF), signal the Bank Group’s return to its headquarters in 2014 after more than 11 years of relocation in Tunis, Tunisia.

According to an Executive Mansion release, other highpoints of the meetings are the election of the Bank's eighth President, the commemoration of its 50th anniversary, and the formal admission of South Sudan as its 54th regional member country and its 80th global member.

More than 2,500 delegates, including heads of state and government will attend the meetings led by the Bank’s Governors, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Chiefs who represent their countries at the topmost hierarchy of the Bank.

Other participants would include representatives of multilateral development finance institutions, development agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the media.

The gathering will review the Bank’s 2014 operations and its 2015 portfolio, as well as Africa’s thematic concerns such as regional integration and trade, infrastructure, private sector development, job creation, governance as well as inclusive and green growth.

The 2015 Seminar series also contains High Level Events, including the direct participation of Heads of State and Government; signature events such as the launching of flagship reports; seminars focusing on recent economic and policy debate in Africa; and audience events which provides a platform for groups to discuss topics with their constituencies.

In tune with the theme of the Annual Meetings, “Africa and the New Global Landscape”, the seminars will explore topics within a broad policy perspective, focusing on how the changing global economy is affecting Africa’s development, and how Africa should respond.

They will look at how to finance development in Africa, how to address inequalities and create employment, and how to respond to the challenge of climate change. Some of the seminars will be linked to the launching of flagship reports, including the African Economic Outlook, an Index for measuring gender gaps, and launch of the African Futures Report.

On Monday evening, May 25, a high level panel on “Are we ready for the next epidemic: Fixing Africa’s Primary Healthcare Systems” hosted by President Kaberuka will include President Sirleaf, at the Chapiteau Emergence, Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, who will present her unique experience in transforming her country from having the highest Ebola virus disease infection rate to being Ebola-free.

She will discuss what is the value of economic growth in Africa if thousands of people still die from preventable diseases? The Ebola epidemic was a wakeup call of the fragility of health systems in Africa, killing over 10,000 people.

The panel will also be composed of the Minister of Health of Senegal, Awa Marie Coll-Seck; Vice-President for the Africa Region of the World Bank, Makhtar Diop; Executive Secretary, UNECA, Carlos Lopes; Vice-President for Global Health & Access Programmes, GlaxoSmithKline, Andy Wright; and Chairman and Founder, ECONET, Strive Masiyiwa.

This Davos-style panel aims to enhance Africa’s voice, national ownership and leadership in containing the spread of the Ebola virus disease and shaping post-Ebola recovery; enhance commitments to multi-sectoral collaborative action in redressing Ebola-affected countries; and promote regional and sub-regional solutions in recovery and preparedness efforts.

Discussions will also focus on the economic effects of the crisis, and the critical importance of African leadership in reconstruction and prevention of Ebola and future epidemics.
Looking ahead, the meeting will also review possible roles for the private sector and donor communities. It will also delve into the multi-sectoral nature of systems required to ensure national and regional health security, including the role of technology.

The AfDB, Africa’s premier development finance institution, was established in 1964 to mobilize resources for the economic and social development of its regional member countries (RMCs) by promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
The Bank has approved 4,185 loans and grants totaling US $107.6 billion to its Regional (African) Member Countries from 1967 to 2014.

Meanwhile, while the Liberian leader is away, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Julia Duncan-Cassell, will chair the Cabinet in collaboration with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr.

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