AfDB announces new appointment of Directors in regional offices

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The African Development Bank Group has announced the appointment of directors-general for the East, Central and Southern Africa regions and deputy general for the East, Central, Northern, Southern and West Africa regions.

Serge N’Guessan, Director General, Central Africa Region
As Director-General, Central Africa, Mr N’Guessan will drive and ensure the operational efficiency, effectiveness and overall health of the Bank’s portfolio across the Central Africa Region. He will also spearhead regional business development and investment, driving resource mobilization across the countries under his remit and growing the business of the Bank significantly.
Mr N’Guessan, a Canadian citizen, is a professional with over 30 years of experience in international development and portfolio management, who has held important representation roles within the Bank for almost 10 years.
He has been the Deputy Director-General, West Africa, since September 2018, where he built an effective and motivated team, working in the spirit of ¨One Bank¨ and improved the work processes in the Regional Office. Serge has been instrumental over the last 10 years in enhancing policy dialogue, socio-economic reforms, resource mobilization and co-financing capacity, and aid coordination and effectiveness by strengthening the Bank’s collaboration with its technical and financial partners and with the private sector. Serge held the position of Country Manager, Senegal Country Office, from October 2017 to August 2018. He was previously Resident Representative for the Bank’s Office in Togo as of October 2011. He successfully opened, in January 2012, the first Country Office in Togo, a Fragile State, and he managed the operational functions of the Bank in Togo and, since 2013, in Benin.
Mr N’Guessan joined the Bank in 2000 as Senior Architect/Implementation Specialist, in the Human Development Department. He was subsequently assigned to the Governance and Financial Management Department, where he held the positions of Principal Procurement Specialist prior to his appointment as Chief Governance Specialist in 2008.
Before joining the Bank, he managed the International Projects Division of OMIRA Inc., a Canadian Company (1996-2000). Between 1992 and 1996, he was Chief Project Manager of Dirigo Land & Livestock, an American Company based in Denver, Colorado.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr N’Guessan said: “I am very pleased to be able to lead the Bank’s teams and activities in Central Africa (Cameroon, CAR, Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon,) to accelerate the implementation of the High 5 and President Adesina’s vision reiterated for his second mandate to effectively transform the lives of people in this region in a positive and sustainable way for the development of Africa.”
He holds a Ph.D. in Regional and Urban Planning from the Université de Montréal (Canada), a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado, of Denver (USA), as well as a Diplôme d’Ingénieur de Génie Civil from École Nationale Supérieure des Travaux Publics of Yamoussoukro (Côte d’Ivoire).
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Serge is a seasoned professional with a solid track record. His hands-on experience and his capacity to deliver will be an asset in supporting transformation and integration in the region.”

Nnenna Lily Nwabufo, Director General, East Africa Region
As Director-General, East Africa, Ms Nwabufo will be responsible for leading and advancing the Bank Group’s strategic objective of achieving significant and transformational developmental impact in thirteen countries in East Africa by ensuring operational efficiency, effectiveness and an overall healthy portfolio in the region. Specifically, she will lead high-level dialogues at country and regional levels and across Bank sector complexes as well as oversee the full implementation and integration of all aspects of the Bank’s work in the region. She will also spearhead regional business development and investment, and foster resource mobilization efforts across the countries in the region to ensure focused growth of the Bank’s sovereign and non-sovereign operations.
A Nigerian citizen, Ms Nwabufo is a versatile and seasoned executive with over 30 years’ professional experience in treasury and financial management, budget programming, planning and performance management, human resource and corporate services management, and country/regional operations.
She joined the Bank’s Treasury Department in 1991 where she worked at different professional levels for over a decade. Subsequently, she took on progressive management level responsibilities including, Manager in the General Services and Procurement Department from March 2007, Director of Programming and Budget Department in January 2013, Acting Director, Human Resource Management Department and Acting Vice President for Corporate Services from May 2015 to May 2016. She was on a special assignment to lead the Bank’s Annual Meetings preparation team from June 2016 until her appointment as Deputy Director-General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office in January 2017. She was appointed the Acting Director-General for the region effective 1st October 2019.
Before joining the African Development Bank in August 1991, Ms Nwabufo worked as a Treasury Management Expert in two merchant banks in Nigeria rising to become the Treasury Manager of one of them.
Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am very pleased to be appointed by President Adesina as the Director-General for the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office and to support his vision for the continent. I have no doubt that working together with all internal and external stakeholders, we can make a difference and bring much-needed development to East African citizens.”
Ms Nwabufo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a Master of Business Administration from Henley Management College, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “I am delighted to appoint Nnenna as the Director-General for East Africa. Her vast experience and solid track-record in strategic functions across the Bank attest to her capacity to effectively lead the team to rise up to the development challenges and ensure continued development impact to improve the lives of Africans in the East Africa region.”

Leïla Farah Mokadem, Director General, Southern Africa Region
As Director-General, Southern Africa, Ms Mokadem will drive high-level dialogue and Bank’s operations, ensuring the Bank operates efficiently, effectively and successfully in the relevant countries, within the region. She will lead and monitor adaptation to specific requirements of individual countries/operations with greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness and value addition in the use of resources, with downstream gains for Regional Member Countries, and the private sector in the Southern Africa Region.
Ms Mokadem, a Tunisian national, is a seasoned professional in International Finance. She has over 25 years of experience with multilateral development banks and international institutions.
She joined the Bank in September 2002 and was appointed as Country Manager for Morocco in 2017. Prior to this appointment, she was the Resident Representative of the Bank in Egypt from 2014 to 2017 and Regional Resident Representative from February 2010 to December 2013, based in Dakar, Senegal. In these capacities, she successfully led the Bank’s strategic engagements and partnerships as well as high-level dialogue and operations.

Prior to her assignments in country offices, Ms Mokadem held the position of Manager, Financial Institutions Division in the Bank’s Private Sector Department at Headquarters, where she designed innovative financial solutions for Africa, including the African SME Guarantee Fund, AfDB Trade Finance Initiative and the Women in Business Initiative. Leila managed multibillion investment portfolios in over 35 African countries, particularly in the private, infrastructure and financial services sectors. Leila also served as Board member at the Ouest African Development Bank (BOAD) and Advans Holding (Microfinance). She is currently serving as alternate Board member of the Afreximbank.

Before joining the Bank, she was long-term fiscal advisor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from August 1996 to December 1999. She started her career at the Ministry of Economy in Tunisia.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Mokadem said: “It’s a great opportunity to work under the leadership of President Adesina, supporting his vision and the implementation of Africa’s development agenda while strengthening the Bank’s engagement in the Southern Africa Region.”

She holds a Diploma in Finance from the Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) of Carthage, Tunisia and a master’s degree in International Trade from the Institute of High-level Management (Institut Supérieur de Gestion), Tunisia.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “For my second term as President of the African Development Bank, I have prioritized the support, stabilization and strengthening of African economies to get back on a stronger pathway of economic growth and resilience. Leila will support my vision and drive to build a stronger development impact of Bank’s operations and advisory support in Southern Africa Region. She is a highly respected professional, with a solid track record in leading Bank’s strategic engagements in our Regional Members Countries.”

Solomane Koné, Deputy Director-General, Central Africa Region

Mr Kone, a national of Côte d’Ivoire, has been Acting Director-General for the Central Africa Region since January 2020, as well as Country Manager for the African Development Bank’s Office in Cameroon. In these capacities, he was involved in high-level strategic country and regional dialogue with different stakeholders, governments, and other development partners, including co-financing arrangements and donor coordination particularly in the context of the Regional Economic and Financial Reform Program of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (PREF-CEMAC). He helped to grow the Bank’s business and supervise the performance of the portfolio in Cameroon, which is the largest in Central Africa (35 operations for about USD 3.1 billion).

Mr Kone joined the Bank in January 2003 as a Country Economist in the Central Africa Region, before moving to the West Africa Region and the Governance Department. He later on held several senior and managerial positions such as Lead Economist for the Regional Department East 2, from November 2009 – July 2012, Acting Regional Director for OREB from July 2012 – October 2013, Advisor to the Vice-President Country and Regional Programs (ORVP) and Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery (RDVP) from November 2013 – September 2017.

Prior to joining the Bank, he had accumulated more than 10 years of relevant research, strategic and policy analysis experience as a lead consultant, researcher and policy analyst in various academic, national and international institutions, including Cornell University Food and Nutrition Policy Program, the Ivorian Center for Economic and Social Research, the ILO, the OECD Development Centre, and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), where he was instrumental in developing forecasting, simulation and econometric models to guide macroeconomic and monetary policy and regional programs in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). He authored and co-authored numerous publications and reports on regional development, industrial policy, the impact of fiscal and monetary policy, the adequate level of foreign reserves, as well as poverty analysis using Social Accounting Matrix. He has also taught high-level macroeconomic policies, econometrics and quantitative methods at West African Center for Banking and Financial Studies of BCEAO and Cornell University.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Kone said: “I am honored by this mark of confidence from President Adesina. I am determined to help provide the necessary leadership on the ground for the delivery of his vision and ambition at this critical time for our economies.”

He holds a master’s degree in regional planning and a PhD in Development Economics and Planning from Cornell University in the United States, obtained in 1990 and 1993 respectively.

Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Solomane is a seasoned economist and well-respected professional, with a deep knowledge and experience in developing and managing regional and country strategies and operations. His experience as Country Manager and his track record in building partnerships and providing leadership will be critical in the transformation agenda of the Bank in the region.”

Abdul B. Kamara, Deputy Director-General, East Africa Region

Mr Kamara, a citizen of Sierra Leone, is currently the African Development Bank Group’s Country Manager for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Mr Kamara is a development economist with over two decades of experience in development policy research, development financing and policy work on Africa’s economic transformation and development. He has worked as a joint Research Associate of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa (1997–1999), and as Assistant Professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany (1999–2000).

He joined the Bank in 2004 and has served as Senior Agricultural Economist (2004–2007); as Manager of the Research Division (2007–2010), and for seven years as Resident Representative for Sudan (2011–2017) where he was also responsible for South Sudan until 2013. He was Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations for one year (2014–2015), serving as Deputy Joint Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in charge of the Darfur Mission. In 2017, President Adesina appointed him as Country Manager for Ethiopia, where he currently manages the Bank’s USD1.63 billion portfolio.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to take this responsibility, entrusted in me by President Adesina, to serve as Deputy Director-General in a region I am very versed with, having served the Bank effectively for the past 10 years in this region.”

Mr Kamara holds a Bachelor of Science (Vordiplom) in Agriculture General and an MSc (cum laude) in Agricultural Economics, both from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, and an award-winning PhD (cum laude) in Agricultural and Development Economics from the University of Göttingen in Germany.

Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Abdul is a well-rounded professional with valuable policy, research and operational experiences suitable for this role. His in-depth knowledge of the region and solid track record of superior field-level delivery and excellent managerial skills will help the Bank accelerate delivery on its vision and mandate in East Africa.”

Malinne Blomberg, Deputy Director-General, North Africa Region

Ms Blomberg, a Swedish citizen, is a seasoned finance professional with solid experience in developing strategies, providing advisory services, and executing operations for results in both the public and private sectors.

She has over 15 years of experience in development finance, gained largely from serving the Bank since 2008 when she joined the Water and Sanitation Department as Financial Management Specialist and later was in charge of its Division covering West and Central Africa. In-between she also worked in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Department, focusing on climate finance. She brings extensive hands-on experience from working across the continent including fragile states, in terms of business development and dialogue, resources mobilization, identifying and structuring innovative investment projects and other initiatives, as well as promoting private sector participation with a focus on infrastructure sectors.

She is currently the Bank’s Country Manager for Egypt, where she has been leading the Bank’s operations since 2017.

Before joining the Bank, Ms Blomberg worked for Arthur Andersen Business Consulting in the UK and on assignments in other financial hubs of the world as Manager in the Financial Services Industry up to 2001. From 2003 to 2007, she served as Financial and Institutional Advisor in the Government of Uganda, in the Ministry of Water and Environment, supporting national efforts to strengthen institutional effectiveness and fund utilization, and managing the ministry’s multi-donor trust funds.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am very grateful for this expanded mandate that allows me to deepen the Bank’s partnership with its clients and expand operations across North Africa – a region with tremendous opportunities that is undergoing fast-paced transformation.”

She holds an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and an MSc in Economic and International Business from University of Linköping, Sweden.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “During my second term as President of the African Development Bank, I will continue to strengthen the Bank’s delivery on the ground, and to accelerate the socio-economic transformation of our continent. Malinne brings the drive and experience from both the public and private sectors, needed to bring together various stakeholders to scale up our impact in North Africa. She is a highly respected professional, with a solid track record in development finance.”

Kennedy K. Mbekeani, Deputy Director-General, Southern Africa Region

Mr Mbekeani, a Malawian citizen, is a seasoned development economist with over 20 years of senior level country and regional experience in development finance, project management, policy advisory services, and knowledge generation.

He joined the Bank in 2009 as Chief Trade and Regional Integration Officer. He provided leadership in formulating the Bank’s trade assistance strategy to regional economic communities and on policy research on international trade, economic integration and development.

He was Lead Regional Economist (2012-2014) at the South African Resource Centre. He later served as Officer in Charge and Acting Regional Director of the Bank’s South African Resource Centre in South Africa (2014-2016) where he led the largest syndicated A/B Loan arranged in Africa to-date. He was appointed Officer in Charge of the African Development Bank’s Ghana Country Office in February 2017. In September 2017, African Development Bank President, Akinwumi A. Adesina, appointed him as Country Manager, Uganda Country Office where he grew the portfolio to over USD 2 billion.

Before joining the Bank, Mr Mbekeani worked for the UNDP as a Trade, Debt and Globalisation Advisor for East and Southern Africa. Prior to that he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis, and as Senior Economist at the National Institute for Economic Policy in South Africa.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am pleased to work with President Adesina to support execution of his vision for the Bank and the continent and accelerate delivery on the High 5s”.

Mr Mbekeani holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Malawi, MPhil (Monetary Economics) from the University of Glasgow, MA and a PhD in International Economics from the University of California. He has published on trade, regional integration, and infrastructure development in Africa.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “Kennedy is a rounded professional, with broad experience in international development. His capacity to deliver in various areas will help to build strong partnerships in the region and to promote both private and public sectors operations.”

Joseph Martial Ribeiro, Deputy Director-General, West Africa Region

A Cape Verdean national, Joseph Martial Ribeiro is currently Manager of the African Development Bank Group for the Angola Country Office, which also covers Sao Tome and Principe.

Mr Ribeiro is an experienced international development practitioner with in-depth knowledge of the key issues of decentralisation, privatisation and public-private partnerships. He is a seasoned professional in the evaluation and management of development projects.

Prior to joining the AfDB, he worked as a consulting engineer, particularly in the areas of water and sanitation, and has extensive experience in university education in Canada and Senegal, as well as solid experience in academic and industrial research. He joined the Bank in 2000 and has served as Senior Irrigation Specialist (2000-2005), Procurement Specialist (2005-2009), Representative for Angola (2009-2011), Resident Representative for Mozambique (2011-2017) and Country Manager for Angola and Sao Tome and Principe (2017-Present).

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Ribeiro said: “I am very honoured by the trust that President Adesina has placed in me through this prestigious appointment. I am delighted to take on this responsibility as Deputy Director-General in the West Africa Region, which affords numerous opportunities to deliver the High 5s sustainably and effectively.”

He holds a PhD in Hydrology from the École Polytechnique de Montréal (Canada), an MBA from the University of Cumbria (UK), a degree in Political Science from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (UK) and a Design Engineering Certificate in Civil Engineering from the École Polytechnique de Thiès (Senegal).

Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Joseph has successfully represented the Bank in three Portuguese-speaking regional member countries, in addition to being an accomplished professional with strong political acumen and managerial skills. His experience in the field and his in-depth knowledge of public development projects and public-private partnerships will greatly contribute to the success of the Bank’s operations in West Africa.”

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