To strengthen the African Development Bank (ADB) in order to bolster its role in Africa’s march towards peace, social progress and economic development, the Republic of Cape Verde has decided to submit the candidacy of its Minister of finance and Planning, Ms. Cristina Duarte, for the position of President of the Pan-African institution that is open for selection in May 2015, during its annual General Assembly.
“This decision comes as a result of a strong consensus at the highest level of our country”, stated the President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca. “I would be honored if she is chosen to occupy this position as the ADB, one of the few prestigious institutions of Africa, is indeed its pride”.
Expatiating on these words, and strengthening them, José Maria Neves, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde and Head of Government, said: “Like all of our countrymen and the entire members of the political and business class of our country, I am convinced that she meets the conditions to handle the destiny of the Pan-African Bank”. He adds: ”With her knowledge and experience as a reformist, Minister Duarte can make a decisive contribution, since she is among the most credible architects of the successful economic reforms that made Cape Verde one of the references for good economic governance and institutional stability in Africa”.
For her part, Ms. Duarte, is ”excited” and ”determined” to have the opportunity to be more than ever at the forefront of the battle to reinforce the ADB as the main instrument in Africa’s efforts to tackle and overcome underdevelopment. “The ADB, she declared, is a noble cause”. Before adding: “‘It is an important institution that can help the continent in its efforts at economic renewal and transformation to ensure that the current Africa rising scenario does not turn into another disappointment”.
The candidacy of Ms. Cristina Duarte comes in the footsteps of those already announced, but, so far, she is the sole woman to aspire to the position.
As such, in addition to bringing a female sensibility in the race to lead this top office, becoming the first woman if retained for this position, Mrs. Duarte’s election would cap, above all, an exceptional professional and ethical career.
An MBA graduate in international finance and emerging financial markets obtained in the United States of America, Cristina Duarte is a polyglot who master five languages: French, English, Portuguese, Italian, and Caboverdiano.
Furthermore, she can showcase an equally diversified professional experience. She started her career in the Cape Verdean public administration as Director-General of studies and planning in the Ministry of Rural Development, before becoming later on an international consultant for the FAO, the UNDP and the World Bank.
In 2006, in her new capacity as Minister of Finance and Planning, she was able to closelyimbue herself with the functioning and the challenges of the ADB in her quality as Governor of the institution, which allowed her also to monitor the activities of the institution.
Indeed, to a large extent, it was under her impulse that Cape Verde, a country whom many skeptically regarded as not viable at the time of its independence, in 1975, upgraded from the status of one of the least developed countries (LDCs) to reach that of a middle-income country, achieving such a remarkable feat despite being a country devoid of natural resources and confronted with a harsh climatic environment.
In addition to her work in the public sector, she also has had a solid experience in the private sector as prior to becoming Minister in her native country, she was one of the leading Africans executives at the prestigious private bank, The Citibank, for which she served in its Kenyan and Angolan branches up to the position of Vice President in charge of Corporate and Investment Banking.
The candidacy of Ms. Cristina Duarte to the chairmanship of the ADB would complement a remarkable professional career. It is not therefore surprising that the most respected figures in her country, as the winner of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for good governance, President PedroPires, and another head of State of Cape Verde, António Mascarenhas, have jointly decided to constitute themselves as champions for her candidacy throughout Africa.