African Development Bank says World Bank chief’s criticism ‘misleading’


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FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 16, 2016. Picture taken September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo 

The African Development Bank on Thursday pushed back against World Bank President David Malpass’ comments that it and similar regional development banks were contributing to emerging market debt problems, saying that his criticism was “misleading and inaccurate.”

Malpass said at a World Bank IMF debt forum on Monday that the African Development Bank was “pushing large amounts of money into Nigeria, South Africa, and others without the strongest program to sustain it and push it forward.” He said the AfDB, the Asian Development Bank and official export credit agencies had a tendency to lend too quickly, worsening challenging debt problems in emerging market countries.

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The African Development bank said Malpass’ statement was “inaccurate and not fact-based. It impugns the integrity of the African Development Bank, undermines our governance systems, and incorrectly insinuates that we operate under different standards from the World Bank.”

The Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire-based development lender said it provides a strong governance program for its regional member countries that focuses on sustainable financial and debt management, transparent natural resources management, and mobilization of domestic resources.

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The bank said it has spearheaded the issuance of local currency financing to several countries to mitigate foreign exchange risks while helping countries improve tax collection and directing pension assets into infrastructure development.

“The African Development Bank coordinates lending activities, especially its public sector policy-based loans, closely with sister International Financial Institutions (notably the World Bank and the IMF),” it said, adding that it relies on the IMF and World Bank debt sustainability analyses in crafting its financial assistance to low-income countries.


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