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African Development Bank (AfDB) presidential candidate Thomas Zondo Sakala met continental diplomats accredited to Harare on Thursday to drum up support ahead of the bank’s elections in May.

Elections for AfDB president will be held on May 28 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to replace Rwandan Donald Kaberuka who is completing his second and final term.

Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa introduced Sakala to African diplomats at Treasury offices. Sakala has the backing of Sadc.

Chinamasa said through the delivery of well-selected projects, the bank (AfDB) would generate inclusive growth and greener economies.

“He deserves our support. We need your support in the elections we have in May. I know Nigeria, Chad, Ethiopia, Cape Verde and others have candidates,” he said.

Chinamasa pleaded with the diplomats whose countries were fielding candidates that in the event their candidates fell by the wayside, they should rally behind Sakala.

Sakala said key areas that needed special attention were infrastructure, greening African economies, gender, decentralisation, governance and resource mobilisation, as well as staff reinforcement.

“For the foreseeable future, the bank must remain firmly at the forefront in championing and supporting this operational priority. Bank management should continue to work closely with the newly created Africa 50 fund,” he said.

A former AfDB executive, Sakala has to shrug the challenges from Akinwumi Adesina (Nigeria), Sufian Ahmed (Ethiopia), Jaloul Ayed (Tunisia), Kordje Bedoumra (Chad), Cristina Duarte (Cape Verde), Samurai Kamara (Sierra Leone) and Malian Birama Boubacar Sidibe.

Each candidate is expected to make a written statement on his or her vision for the bank in both English and French, the two working languages, by March 20.

The elections for the AfDB’s top post will be held during the bank’s annual meeting.

Sakala resigned from AfDB last year to campaign for the top post having worked for the bank since 1983. At the time of his departure, Sakala was Vice-President, Country and Regional Programmes and Policies at AfDB.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard