The African Development Bank is an international organization devoted to
the economic development of Africa. It was founded as a corporation with
shares held by the member nations of the
Organization of African Unity in 1963 and was an exclusively African institution
until 1982. Awash in a growing pile of non-performing loans it opened
itself to non-African governments but has restricted their ownership
to 33% of the bank. In 2001 it has 53 African members and 24 other
members, including one corporation.
Political uncertainty in Africa coupled with severe capital shocks
during the 1970s and 1980s have led the bank to require regular cash
infusions from Western governments. Continuing mismanagement led
the United States to suspend payments to the bank in 1993 while calling
for several broad reforms of the bank's management and economic policy.
These reforms included greater transparency, staff reductions, stricter
lending guidelines, greater capital adequacy, and a move by the bank away
from the financing of costly and risky infrastructure projects to financing
smaller projects intended to reduce poverty or improve health in specific
Progress by the bank in these reforms led to the re-institution of annual
cash infusions to the bank from the United States in 2000. The US contributed
$128 million to the bank in 2000 and $100 million in 2001. At the time of
this writing no appropriation has been made for 2002.