World Bank group president David Malpass. Picture: AFP/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI
World Bank group president David Malpass. Picture: AFP/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Washington — On Thursday, the African Development Bank (AfDB) pushed back against World Bank president David Malpass’s comments that it and similar regional development banks were contributing to emerging-market debt problems, saying that his criticism is “misleading and inaccurate”.

Malpass said at a World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt forum on Monday that the AfDB is “pushing large amounts of money into Nigeria, SA, and others without the strongest programme to sustain it and push it forward”.

He said the AfDB, the Asian Development Bank, and official export credit agencies have a tendency to lend too quickly, worsening challenging debt problems in emerging-market countries.

The AfDB said Malpass’s statement is “inaccurate and not fact-based. It impugns the integrity of the AfDB, undermines our governance systems, and incorrectly insinuates that we operate under different standards from the World Bank”.

The Abidjan, Ivory Coast-based development lender said it provides a strong governance programme for its regional member countries that focuses on sustainable financial and debt management, transparent natural resources management, and mobilisation of domestic resources.

The bank said it has spearheaded the issuance of local currency financing to several countries to mitigate foreign exchange risks, while helping countries improve tax collection and directing pension assets into infrastructure development.

“The AfDB co-ordinates lending activities, especially its public-sector, policy-based loans, closely with sister international financial institutions (notably the World Bank and the IMF),” it said, adding that it relies on the IMF and World Bank debt sustainability analyses in crafting its financial assistance to low-income countries.