I applied for an Ibrahim Leadership Fellowship, not because of some blind faith in the international development industry, but because I’d acquired a healthy skepticism of it.
Having analysed and obsessed over the pitfalls of post-war recovery in my country Liberia and in other contexts in West, Central and North Africa, I’d been itching to put my policy-oriented development research expertise to practice. I wanted to escape the ivory tower of academia in Europe and work in a regional institution based in an African metropolis.
The African Development Bank ticked all of those boxes. That the Bank credits its very existence to Dr Romeo Horton – a Liberian central bank governor who believed strongly that Africa needed its own development finance institution – made my appointment here even more symbolic.
My first 100 days were a steep learning curve in how to manage people, projects and priorities.