What is the African Development Bank?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) was established 4 August 1963. AfDB is the parent institution of the African Bank Development Group, which also consists of the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF) and the African Development Fund (ADF). AfDB's purpose is to help move Africa toward becoming a more developed continent, which the bank believes is essential in achieving goals such as reducing poverty, combating diseases, and building global partnerships. The bank's members are composed of both African and non-African entities.

The African Development Bank is an organization composed of two groups. All of the African countries are considered regional members. Other participants, which exist outside of the African continent, are considered non-regional members. AfDB explicitly states that its major goal is to facilitate the economic and social progress of its regional member countries.

The official headquarters of the AfDB is in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. In 2003, however, operations were transferred to Tunis, the capital of Tunisa. Its existence there was considered a “temporary relocation agency” but AfDB continued to operate there for several years without announcing any date that it would return to Abidjan. In addition, there are field and country offices spread out across the continent.


The African Development Bank operates with the principle that sustainable economic development and social progress can help eliminate poverty in Africa. One of the roles the institution plays to achieve its goals is to make resources available for investment, which helps accomplish the vision of a developed continent.

The resources AfDB distributes are obtained in several ways, including from loan repayments, borrowings on international capital markets, and income from investments. One of the bank's objectives is to mobilize internal and external resources. This means that the African Development Bank recognizes the potential contributions that African entities can make to their own progress.

The African Development Bank claims to do more than simply disburse resources. It also helps achieve its vision for Africa by providing advice about policies. A significant portion of the lending that the AfDB engages in is policy based. In addition to these roles, the bank also provides technical assistance for certain development efforts. AfDB has played a role in helping establish and promote numerous other institutions with similar goals. These include the African Export-Import Bank, the International Finance Company for Investments in Africa, and the Joint Africa Institute.


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