Vice president of AFDB Jennifer Blanke resigns citing family reasons

Ethiopia secures US$165M in grant funds from AfDB to bolster COVID-19 emergency response efforts

AFRICA – Jennifer Blanke, vice president for agriculture, human and social development at the African Development Bank, has resigned and will be leaving the bank in July 4, 2020. 

“I thank President Akinwumi Adesina for his strong leadership, guidance and support which have undoubtedly motivated and helped my team and I to play a key role in the transformation of the bank,” she said. 

“I feel privileged to have been given an opportunity to contribute to the bank’s agenda for accelerating Africa’s social and economic transformation.” 

Blanke said her resignation is purely for family reasons and not related to an investigation into whistleblower allegations levelled against Adesina. 

It can be recalled the AfDB has been bedevilled with a leadership crisis as the United States, the second-largest shareholder, had asked for an independent probe of the bank’s President, following series of allegations by a group of whistleblowers. 

“I am leaving purely for family reasons to rejoin my family in Switzerland, after a very fulfilling time at the bank. I will miss the bank and the excellent team we have built. I will continue to strongly support the bank from wherever I am,” she said. 

“I have been delighted to work with Dr Jennifer Blanke over the past three and a half years. She has demonstrated genuine leadership skills and moved the needle on so many fronts, especially in the areas of food security, women’s financial empowerment, and job creation. I wish her all the best and look forward to continued partnerships and engagement with Jennifer,” Adesina said. 

Blanke joined AfDB in early 2017 and has overseen a number of the bank’s key programs including ongoing Africa vs Virus challenge. 

She has a Master’s in International Affairs, Columbia University, Master’s and PhD in International Economics, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva.  

She has written and lectured extensively on issues related to national competitiveness, economic growth and development, and political economy.  

She is a former Chief Economist at the World Economic Forum, 2012-2017, Senior Programme Manager, responsible for developing the business, management and technology section of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, 1998-2002; with the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network, 2002-2011, including team head, 2007-14. 

She is also a management Consultant, Eurogroup, Mazars Group, Paris, specializing in banking and financial market organization, 1995-1998. Presently serving as a member of the Canadian government’s Council of Economic Growth and holding a number of non-executive board responsibilities. 

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