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AfDB: Adesina pushes for Youth Entrepreneurship Banks

…pledges quality deliverables to Africa in second term

President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has promised to ensure the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks so as to unleash Africa’s youths’ potentials. Adesina made this known while giving his inaugural speech during a virtual ceremony of his swearing-in yesterday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The AfDB president said the youth banks would help to mobilise and deploy capital to drive the entrepreneurship of the youth of Africa. He said this would be done “in ways that are systemic, scalable and sustainable.”

He said: “We will ensure that Africa’s youth potential is fully unleashed. In this regard, the Bank will support the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks – banks that will help to mobilize and deploy capital to drive the entrepreneurship of the youth of Africa – in ways that are systemic, scalable and sustainable. “The shadows of youth unemployment and migration out of Africa must give way to a glowing light of successful youth-driven businesses across Africa. “Africa’s youths must stay in Africa, develop Africa, and project Africa’s future.”

Adesina was sworn in for a second term in office as AfDB President. Chairperson of the AfDB Board of Governors and Ghana’s Finance Minister, Kenneth Ofori-Attah, administered the oath of office at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in an event that was broadcast virtually.

A former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria, Adesina, who was elected in May 2015, was re-elected on August 27, during the annual meetings of the AfDB, after getting a 100 per cent vote of all regional and non-regional members of the bank.

In his inauguration speech, Adesina, who is the first to be elected and re-elected to serve as the AfDB’s President, pledged to build on the achievements recorded by the bank during his first term in office. Besides the planned establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks, Adesina said he would accord increased attention to quality healthcare infrastructure for Africa as well as devote attention to infrastructure development during his second term in office.

To this end, Adesina said that the AfDB’s infrastructure work will focus on economic infrastructure, quality physical infrastructure and quality health infrastructure. He said the outbreak of COVID-19 opens up new opportunities and a greater sense of urgency to build up Africa’s manufacturing capacity, industrial development, and critically needed industrial value chains, that must be supported by enabling infrastructure and policies. According to him, special attention will be given to regional industrial value chains and the strengthening of financial markets in order to expand intraregional trade and competitiveness, and boost the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Adesina promised to build a much stronger and resilient bank to deliver greater quality impacts on African people.

The AfDB president said this would be done with the leadership and capacity of the bank, while remaining financially strong and sustainable. He said that the bank, over the next five years, would focus on institution, people, delivery and sustainability. “Each of these is encapsulated in the following five areas which combine with the programmatic High 5s to transform the development landscape of Africa. “Build a stronger institution; strengthen human capacity; enhance effectiveness; deepen quality and impact; and maintain financial sustainability,” he said.

He said the High 5s of the bank, which were developed to accelerate the delivery of the Ten-Year Strategy, had been implemented with deliberateness, speed and rigour. The High 5s are Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.

The AfDB president said that the bank would build on the “great successes” it had had in agriculture. He said this would be done by scaling up technologies to reach tens of millions of farmers and supporting Africa to build competitive agricultural value chains. In the past five years under his watch, Adesina said the bank provided 60 million people with access to water and sanitation. Adesina expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for unflinching support of his candidature without which he said he won’t have be elected.

Several presidents who attended the virtual ceremony and sent messages of support, included Paul Kagame of Rwanda, George Weah of Liberia, Alpha Conde of Guinea, Umaro Embaló of Guinea Bissau, and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo. Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Atiku Abubakar were also present.

 

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