The new super banker will take over an ADB seeking to diversify beyond its traditional role as a development bank, which lends money for major projects -- a total of $6.8 billion for 317 operations in 2013.
Ethiopian finance minister Sufian Ahmed, Sierra Leone's foreign minister Samura Kamara and former ADB vice president Thomas Sakala of Zimbabwe round out the list.
The United States -- the ADB's second-biggest shareholder after Nigeria -- will have a central role in the vote, as will Japan and China.
France wants a bank president who is "more concerned about the interests" of Francophone Africa, the finance ministry says.
But analysts say Western powers need to take a new view of Africa.
Private capital is flowing, with major US-based investment and equity firms Carlyle and KKR setting up shop in Africa, while several countries now finance themselves fully on the market.
And without losing sight of the need to fight poverty and develop infrastructure, the new ADB chief must plan to manage the continent's financial attractiveness.
- No more 'white elephants' -