ADDIS ABABA, Feb 1 — The Southern Development Community (SADC) has collectively endorsed Zimbabwean Thomas Sakala as the regional candidate for the post of president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), a top government official has said.

Elections to choose the next AfDB president, to replace incumbent Donald Kaberuka, are due in May, and seven candidates are vying for the post.

Sakala, who until October last year was the vice president of the AfDB, is a seasoned banker who has held several senior positions in banking.

Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Christian Katsande said SADC had overwhelmingly endorsed the Zimbabwean candidate, and Sakala stood a good chance of landing the position.

“We are happy that the region has supported our candidate, and we are hopeful that he will succeed in the race for the top job at the bank,” he said.

“He is an experienced banker, part of the experience of which he gained at the AfDB itself,” he added.

Sakala worked for the AfDB for 31 years, in many key positions, and only stepped aside last October to run his campaign from outside.

“I think I stand a good chance (of being elected) as someone who was within the structures of the bank for a long time, and knows it inside out,” Sakala said.

He was in Ethiopia attending the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit to lobby for support.

He said what stood him in good stead is that whatever the bank is today, he played a key part, and “I think this will count in the election process.”

For Zimbabwe, this is the second time the country is taking a shot at the AfDB presidency.

In 2005, the country fielded former finance minister Simba Makoni for the post, but lost to Kaberuka.

SOURCE: New Ziana