Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, September 23, 2015 – “Goodbye Dad, Goodbye Ambassador for the Development of Africa, rest in peace”. In an atmosphere of great emotion, African Development Bank (ADB) President Akinwumi Adesina opened the tribute ceremony held in memory of the late Babacar Ndiaye at the headquarters of the organization in Abidjan.
President Adesina announced that the auditorium of the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan will now bear the name of Babacar Ndiaye.
Died on 13 July 2017 in Senegal, Babacar Ndiaye was the fifth elected president of the Bank Group, elected twice between 1985 and 1995.
In the presence of the widow of the deceased, Marlyne Ndiaye, several of her children, former AfDB president Kwame D. Fordwor, members of the Senegalese and Ivorian governments, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Abidjan, many staff members of the ADB (still active or retired), Mr Adesina recalled the total commitment of the late Babacar Ndiaye to the service of the development of Africa.
President Adesina emphasized his personal ties to his predecessor, recalling that he had known him while he was working for the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), based at that time in Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire.
“Babcar Ndiaye had a strong attraction, leaving an indelible imprint on our continent. His legacy is immense, for he always saw things on a grand scale. It was simply great, “insisted Akinwumi Adesina.
“During the campaign for the presidency of the ADB, I naturally went to see him in Dakar. He then gave me a warm welcome. I took the opportunity to present the main axis of my vision structured around the High 5s. He immediately joined me and said: “This is what Africa needs to transform itself.”
A video projected shortly after Mr. Adesina’s intervention retraced the life course of the deceased and his professional ascent to the ADB who recruited him in 1965, only a year after his creation.
He became one of the first African leaders and later rose to become Division Head, Director, Vice President of Finance and then President in 1985. Babcar Ndiaye was the first President of the AfDB be reappointed at the end of his first term.
It was also under his authority that the Pan-African financial institution obtained its first “triple-A” rating in 1984.
The former president was also the architect of the Bank’s capital increase in 1987, which jumped from US $6 billion to US $ 23 billion – a 200% increase – the opening of the Bank’s capital to non-African States. He was also responsible for bringing the Bank into international financial markets.
“Babacar Ndiaye has done a tremendous job at the service of AfDB and Africa. He always advocated excellence. We owe it to him to have established the AfDB as a credible and respected institution on the international stage, “said Donald Kaberuka, former President of the ADB (2005-2015), in a message read on his behalf by the Director of Communication and the external relations of the ADB, Victor Oladokun.
A builder of institutions
Beyond his total investment in the AfDB’s outreach and to equip him with solid foundations, Babcar Ndiaye will have worked to establish large pan-African institutions, such as the African Export-Import Bank Afreximbank, Shelter Africa, or the Round Table of African Businessmen. From Cairo, Lagos and Nairobi, emissaries were specially dispatched by these organizations to attend the tribute ceremony on Thursday.
“Without Babacar Ndiaye, captains of African industries like Aliko Dangote or Michael Ibru would doubtless never have become what they are today. Babcar Ndiaye will put his conviction and perseverance at the service of the African business world. We will remain eternally grateful to him, “said Bamanga Tukur, president of the Africa Business Roundtable.
Christopher Edordu, president and founder of Afreximbank, highlighted the visionary qualities of the deceased, which allowed him to yield nothing to the Afro-pessimism of the time as to the desirability of financing trade in Africa.
“The gestation of Afreximbank took more than six years. Where others would have given up, Babacar Ndiaye showed perseverance and patience. He firmly believed in the future of African commerce, at a time when this conviction was very little shared. Seeing what we have become today, we have to admit that he was a true visionary, “Christopher Edordu said.
In fact, it is not the only time that the 5th President-Elect of the AfDB has been right against all. Indeed, even though housing and housing were not yet at the heart of urban and development issues in Africa, he had encouraged the creation of Shelter Africa, an institution dedicated to financing affordable housing on the continent.
“Babcar Ndiaye had been able to anticipate,” said Edmond Adikpe, regional representative of Shelter Africa. He realized very early on that Africa would not be spared the interest in housing and housing issues. At Shelter Africa, we are eternally grateful to him for all he has done for our creation and our evolution. ”
In proportion as the testimonies succeed each other, the emotion does not fall back into the room, sometimes collected, so constrained to surpass its sadness to applaud strong words. Notably when it was recalled that Babacar Ndiaye remains the only president in the history of the ADB to be drawn from its staff.
“He was installed in his office in 1985 at the Palais des congrès in Abidjan, in the presence of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who was so highly esteemed by the African Development Bank,” said Paul Morisho Yuma, former Secretary of the AfDB, provoking a “standing ovation” of the room.
“Senegal is proud of you”
While he has spent his whole life in the service of Africa, Babacar Ndiaye has not forgotten Senegal, his country of origin. According to Senegalese Minister of Budget Birima Mangara, governor of the ADB for Senegal and especially from Dakar to attend the ceremony, the deceased greatly contributed to the bilateral cooperation between his country and the Bank: “From 1972 to date, the ADB has invested nearly CFAF 1,400 billion in Senegal. We owe it to all of you here today. But we owe it, especially to Babacar Ndiaye. ”
“Senegal is proud of you as a son. Babcar Ndiaye is not gone, he is present in the depths of Africa. We can hear his breath in the moving Africa, “added the Senegalese Minister of the Budget, paraphrasing the poet Birago Diop.
Sitting in the front row, all dressed in white, Marlyne Ndiaye, the widow of the deceased nodded, sometimes with tears in her eyes. Arriving in Abidjan in 1965, the late Babcar Ndiaye has forged a special relationship with Côte d’Ivoire, the country’s headquarters. No less than three Ivorian ministers were present this week in the auditorium of the ADB to testify.
“He was a friend of Cote d’Ivoire. Babacar Ndiaye will be missed by us all; he will miss President Alassane Ouattara, who knows him well and who appreciates him very much. He was a vagabond of the development of Africa, “said François Albert Amichia, Minister of Sports and Leisure, who led the Ivorian government delegation.
Perpetuating his memory
The emotion, already very strong, crosses a new level when Alassane Ndiaye, son of the deceased, speaks in the name of the family. He thanked the Bank very strongly for taking the initiative to organize the tribute ceremony in honor of his fifth elected president. Indeed, it is the first time that the ADB organizes such a solemn tribute to the memory of one of its deceased presidents.
“The whole family is proud and grateful for the organization of this ceremony. What you have done and said today affects us enormously and we go straight to the heart, “insisted the spokesman of the Ndiaye family, in a very emotional tone.
He pleaded that the participants in the ceremony continue in the path traced by his father.
“He wanted the best for Africa. He had the conviction and love of a better Africa. Let us continue to work for a better future for our continent. This would be the best and only way to perpetuate his ambition and his memory, “Aldiane Ndiaye hoped.
“Bringing light wherever it is needed, nurturing and educating children, ensuring food self-sufficiency, promoting peoples and ideas, giving hope to those who have lost it, are the ideals to which Babacar Ndiaye devoted his life. We must now work to realize its hopes through the implementation of the High 5s, “said Charles Boamah, AfDB’s first vice-president, concluding the ceremony.
Last July, a high-level delegation led by Charles Boamah with Vice-Presidents Alberic Kacou and Amadou Hott, Interim Vice-President Hassatou N’Sele and Sipho Moyo, Director of Special Operations, the funeral of Babacar Ndiaye in Dakar.
During his visit to the Senegalese capital, President Adesina went on Monday, September 12, 2017, to his predecessor’s home to renew his compassion and support for his widow and his children.