The African Development Bank (AfDB) has come under scrutiny as it has yet to operationalize a $55 million integrity fund that was launched seven years ago amid much anticipation.
Funds to combat corruption in Africa
The fund, intended to combat corruption in Africa, has not disbursed any funds for its stated purpose. Non-governmental organizations seeking grants from this fund have been informed that it remains inactive.
The fund was initially established in November 2016 with the aim of addressing corruption across the continent.
It was intended to be financed by $55.25 million collected from companies that had settled alleged corruption or misconduct cases with the AfDB.
The AfDB, a highly regarded institution, channels significant funding to development projects in Africa, both from African member countries and non-regional members, which include major global economies like the UK, Japan, China, and the US.
The failure to deploy the funds, amassed from companies settling corruption cases, raises concerns about the efficiency and transparency of the AfDB.
Critics argue that such inaction is disheartening considering the fund’s noble objective of targeting corruption, which hampers economic growth, development, and political systems in Africa.
The AfDB’s decision not to activate the fund was attributed to concerns about conflict of interest, transparency, and due process.
The bank revealed that it plans to manage the funds through an external institution to avoid mingling with its resources. Despite the inaction, the $55.25 million remains in a separate interest-bearing account and has grown to $57.03 million.
The fund’s creation was seen as an innovative approach, but the practical implementation raised significant concerns after receiving board approval.
Although the AfDB cleared its president, Akinwumi Adesina, of allegations related to ignoring bank procedures and appointing friends, questions continue to surround the bank’s governance.
The delayed activation of the integrity fund raises broader questions about the commitment to combating corruption, a critical issue for African nations.
Critics express disappointment and call for greater transparency and accountability from the AfDB, which plays a pivotal role in shaping development efforts across the continent.