The government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to host the bank’s 2021 annual meetings from May 24-May 28, 2021.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori Atta, signed on behalf of the government, with the Secretary-General of the AfDB, Professor Vincent Nmehielle, signing on behalf of the AfDB.
The purpose of the MoU is to define the responsibilities between Ghana as the host and the bank; and outline the requirements for hosting the group’s annual meetings.
At the signing ceremony, Prof. Nmehielle, said the boards of governors of the AfDB, and the African Development Fund at the annual meetings held in Lusaka, Zambia, in May 2016, selected Ghana to host the 2021 annual meetings.
He said that was in response to Ghana’s expression of interest to host the meetings.
“It is gratifying that preparations for the 2021 annual meetings have commenced. As part of the process, fruitful discussions have been held on an MoU which defines the responsibilities between Ghana and the bank,” he stated.
He said as was the custom, the AfDB Group was primarily responsible for the organisation of the annual meetings, including preparing all the required documentation, sending out invitations and facilitating the registration and accreditation of all participants.
The host, which is in this case, Ghana, on the other hand, is also expected to make available goods and services needed for the effective organisation and success of the meetings.
“In this regard, the government of Ghana is expected to facilitate the smooth entry of participants into the country and accord them the necessary privileges and immunities, make available suitable accommodation, provide for the safety and security of all participants, and provide venues for all meetings, including office space for bank officials.
“The Ghana government is also expected to provide ground transportation, provide well-equipped medical system, assure internet connectivity, and supply appropriate equipment in line with the bank’s requirements,” Prof. Nmehielle, highlighted.
Prof. Nmehielle said due to the unpredictable evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MoU, provided for three scenarios for holding the 2021 annual meetings.
He said scenario ‘A’ allows for full-fledged annual meetings per the AFDB Group’s normal practice; scenario ‘B’ provides for limited annual meetings, focusing on statutory matters, while scenario ‘C’ will involve virtual annual meetings.
He noted that the COVID-19 triggers specified in the MoU would inform the scenario to adopt as the event date got closer.
“It is however heart-warming to learn that Ghana is working on preparations for scenario ‘A’,” he said.
Mr Ken Ofori Atta assured the AfDB that the interest of the country in hosting the event had not diminished.
“At the highest level, the commitment is visible. During the visit of the President of the AfDB, Mr Akinwumi Adesina to Ghana in August 2019, His Excellency, President Akufo-Addo, expressed excitement and conveyed his government’s commitment to host the bank’s annual meetings.
“In addition, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, reiterated Ghana’s readiness to host the meetings when he met the executive directors in Ghana in March, this year. In my acceptance speech as the new chair of the Board of Governors of the Bank Group during the 2020 virtual annual meetings, I also reassured the bank of a successful annual meetings in Accra,” he stated.
He said the country had carefully reviewed the MoU and found it satisfactory.
He said the signing of the MoU was yet another indication of the country’s commitment to deliver on all the requirements for the hosting of the 2021 meetings.
“Today’s signing will also facilitate the initiation of actions in diverse fronts. You may also further wish to note that the government is in the process of inaugurating the committees and sub-committees to facilitate the successful organisation of the meetings,” he noted.