New AfDB Country Manager Presents Credence


The new Country Manager of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Benedict Sorie Kanu, has underscored that during his tour of duty in Liberia he will exert all efforts in strengthening the relationship between the bank and the Liberian government to ensure that the “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PADP)” achieves its objective under President George Manneh Weah’s administration. “Thanks for supporting our candidature, without which I will not be sitting here. We are here to serve you, we are here to ensure that the government’s vision is achieve,” Country Manager Benedict Sorie Kanu stated.

   “The bank is in the middle of developing a new strategy for Liberia–a business plan. I’ve heard your kind guidance and direction. I will be listening to you and your colleagues during my tenure to tailor out interventions, specifically to address issues that are very important to this country,” Kanu said.

   According to a Foreign Ministry release, Kanu made these remarks on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he presented his Letter of accreditation to Foreign Minister, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. He replaces Orison Amu, who ended his tour of duty in Liberia recently.

    Kanu emphasized that Liberia played a pivotal role in the establishment of the ADB in 1964; as such, the country is dear to the bank and it will continue to enjoy very strong relations. The new AfDB Country Manager said he was looking forward to working with the government to move the country’s development agenda forward.

   The new Country Manager extended best wishes to the government and people of Liberia on behalf of the President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

   Foreign Minister Kemayah welcomed Kanu to Liberia, and said the government was pleased at his selection based on the confidence reposed in him by the AfDB President, Dr. Adesina.

   The Dean of the Cabinet reiterated the excellent relations Liberia has with the bank, and hoped that during his tenure Kanu will strengthen the already good relationship. “You have come at a time when Liberia has forged a very close relationship with the bank and especially with your predecessor, Mr. Orison Amu.”

   Minister Kemayah disclosed that Amu worked in a consultative manner and brought the bank’s support into many of government’s development priority areas. He hoped that, with his wealth of experience, Kanu will continue to support the projects sponsored by the bank.

    Minister Kemayah wished him a pleasant and fulfilling assignment in Liberia, and told him that if there is anything that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can do to make his work easier, he should feel free to contact the Ministry.

   Benedict Sorie Kanu, a seasoned development professional, is a Sierra Leonean agricultural economist with more than 27 years of international professional experience, including designing, managing and evaluating agricultural programs. Some 25 years of such experience was gained in serving the African Development Bank (AfDB) responsibly in various capacities spanning multiple countries and regions of Africa.

   In July 1997, Benedict was recruited by the AfDB as a Senior Agricultural Economist in the Country Department South Region. He was promoted in 2005 to the position of Principal Agricultural Economist in the Sector Department covering the North, East and South Regions. 

   Subsequently, Kanu served the AfDB in Uganda, first as Country Program Officer (CPO) of the Uganda Country Office from 2005 to 2009, and for 1 year thereafter, as Officer-in-Charge (O-I-C) and CPO. In his capacity as O-I-C, Benedict provided strategic leadership, advice and managerial oversight to the Country Office, identified new business opportunities for the Bank, as well as supervised a country portfolio comprising 26 national, and multi-national investment projects, with financial commitments valued at US$1.1 billion and over 12 AfDB staff and consultants. He ensured constructive policy dialogue and aid coordination between the government of Uganda and the international donor community, in the Bank’s capacity as Chair of the Water and Sanitation Sector Development Partners Group that comprised 14 development partners and NGOs including France, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, EU Delegation, USAID, World Bank, UNICEF, Water Aid, Uganda Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, and the International Rescue Committee.

   In January 2018, Benedict was promoted to the position of AfDB Country Manager for South Sudan.  In this capacity, he was the advocate of the Bank in the host country, oversaw all of the Bank’s investment operations including a country portfolio with financial commitments valued at US$150 million, spearheaded new business development, engaged in policy dialogue and provided strategic leadership to his team. In October 2021, he appointed AfDB Country Manager for Liberia and supervises an active country portfolio valued at about US$400 million.

    During his career in the Bank, Kanu acquired rich and varied experience in AfDB’s operations and corporate processes, as well as in policy development. Kanu led numerous project cycle missions to various African countries, headed the design and processing of several distinctive multi-million dollar agriculture and rural development project proposals, and defended them successfully before the Bank’s Executive Boards. Benedict also had extensive responsibility for project and portfolio management, policy dialogue with senior African government officials and the private sector, and aid coordination. He provided meaningful technical contributions to several other AfDB publications, and assisted greatly in building the capacity of country staff of Project Implementation Units (PIU) of AfDB-sponsored projects on Bank operational and fiduciary policies. He not only served as member of AfDB several interview committees to recruit new staff and promote exiting ones, but also chaired numerous interview panels.     

   Prior to joining the Bank, Kanu consulted for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the University of Swaziland, Abt Associates Inc. Maryland, and the Mitchell Group in Washington, D.C. for 2 years.  In his early career, Benedict, an Agronomist of the Magbass Sugar Complex, contributed to developing the sugar sub-sector in his native Sierra Leone.

   Kanu earned a master of science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arizona and a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Sierra Leone.

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