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Cablegate: Codel Meeks Meets African Development Bank Leadership

VZCZCXRO7674
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTU #0642/01 2441553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011553Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6738
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TUNIS 000642

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y -- ADDRESSEE ADDED

SENSITVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG (MHAYES)
STATE ALSO FOR H - PLEASE PASS CODEL MEEKS
LONDON AND PARIS FOR NEA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP EAID PREL ECON AF TS
SUBJECT: CODEL MEEKS MEETS AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK LEADERSHIP

REF: TUNIS 585

TUNIS 00000642 001.5 OF 002


-------
Summary
-------

1. (U) During the visit of CODEL Meeks to Tunisia August 27-30,
delegation members discussed the impact of the global economic
crisis on the African continent in several encounters with senior
officials of the African Development Bank (AfDB). AfDB Senior Staff
described the Bank's medium-term strategy and discussed changes in
demand due to the crisis. AfDB President Kaberuka told the members
that Africa had turned the corner and was on its way to recovery,
but that this process depended on continued support from the United
States and AfDB. The delegation also discussed transparency issues,
the role of China in the region, the Bank's strategy on Zimbabwe,
and AfDB's cooperation with other multilateral lending institutions.
End Summary.

2. (U) CODEL Meeks (comprised of Representatives Gregory Meeks
(D-NY), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Mel Watt
(D-NC), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH)) had several meetings with the
leadership of the African Development Bank (AfDB) during their visit
to Tunis August 27-30. As Chair of the House Financial Services
Committee, Congressman Meeks takes a special interest in the work of
the AfDB. While several members had met AfDB President Donald
Kaberuka previously in Washington, this was the first visit of a
CODEL to the AfDB's temporary headquarters in Tunis. (Note: The
bank was obliged to evacuate from its permanent seat in Abidjan in
2003 due to the deterioration of political conditions in Cote
d'Ivoire. End note.)

---------------------------
Roundtable on AfDB Strategy
---------------------------

3. (U) The delegation's principal interaction with the AfDB was a
roundtable meeting hosted by President Kaberuka on August 28.
During the roundtable, Kaberuka and AfDB senior staff described the
reforms the Bank is currently undertaking, summarized the Bank's
medium-term strategy, and discussed how the Bank is responding to
increased demand in the wake of the global slowdown. Some of the
specific issues that the presentation highlighted included the
growth of private sector operations, the Bank's efforts to increase
the selectivity of its operations, the Bank's focus on results,
infrastructure, food security, gender, and fragile states, and the
AfDB's financing needs as a result of increased lending.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Coordination with Other IFI's, Transparency Issues
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (SBU) President Kaberuka, in response to a question from the
delegation about coordination with the IMF and the World Bank, noted
that coordination with those institutions is good. He highlighted
the co-financing of projects with the World Bank, the policy
coordination with the IMF, and the Bank's $500 million contribution
to the IFC Global Trade Liquidity Program. In response to a
question on transparency challenges, the head of the AfDB's
Anti-Corruption and Investigation Unit discussed the steps the Bank
has taken to try to prevent procurement corruption and the
investigations process for reported corruption.

---------------------------------
Zimbabwe, China, and U.S. Support
---------------------------------

5. (SBU) CODEL members also asked AfDB officials about AfDB's
relationship with Zimbabwe and China, and how the U.S. can best
support the Bank. On Zimbabwe, Kaberuka said the government needs
to implement all the measures set out in the unity agreement, which
they are currently failing to do. Regarding China, Kaberuka noted
that China is a shareholder of the AfDB and the Bank recently had
its annual meeting there, so the relationship is positive. He noted
that the Bank takes debt sustainability issues seriously, but it is
the responsibility of African governments to negotiate the right
deals with China and others. His message for Washington is that
Africa has turned the corner, irrespective of the crisis. Many
African countries have made the right policy reforms and are growing
despite the crisis, but they require active support from the U.S.
and AfDB. He noted that the financial crisis which has caused this
global slowdown is largely an exogenous shock for Africa, whereas in
the past, most of Africa's crises were of Africa's own making.

6. (U) President Kaberuka also hosted the delegation for dinner at
his residence on August 28 and the U.S. Executive Director's Office
hosted a separate dinner for the delegation on August 29. During

TUNIS 00000642 002.5 OF 002


those events, the delegation was able to hear in more detail about
the Bank's organization, internal structuring, and thoughts on the
potential timeline of the Bank's move back to Abidjan. The
delegation was planning to visit an AfDB project in Rwanda later on
in their trip as well as stops in Harare and Dakar.

7. (U) CODEL Meeks did not have an opportunity to clear this message
before departing Tunisia.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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