In the next five years, African economies are to be industrially transformed and employment opportunities enhanced for the teeming youths, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, pledged as he began a fresh five years in office yesterday.
He had four days earlier been re-elected in a 100 per cent historic vote by all 81 governors of the multilateral lender’s board.
Adesina, in his post-oath taking speech, said he was indebted to the continent and non-regional shareholders for the honour done him by his re-election, promising to pay all with service.
His words: “Four days ago, on August 27, 2020, I was re-elected as president of the African Development Bank Group. I wish to thank you all for your incredible support, and for the mark of confidence you all collectively placed in me. You elected me with 100 per cent of all the votes of regional and non-regional shareholders of the bank – without any exception. This is unparalleled in the bank’s 56-year history. And for this, I am exceedingly grateful. What (an) honour! What (a) confidence!! And what (an) affirmation!!!
“You, our shareholders, have showcased the African Development Bank’s exceptionally high standards and its commitment to transparency and good corporate governance. I am deeply grateful for your collective trust, confidence and support. Above all, I am greatly honoured and humbled. Today, a rainbow stretches from the 81 member-countries of the African Development Bank across the deep blue skies of Africa, with one message – the rain is gone. Gone are the dark clouds that held us down. I stand today, with all humility, as the president elected by all. I will be the president for all.”
The Nigerian then proceeded to unfold his second term plan of action which focuses on industrialisation and empowerment of African youths through the establishment of investment banks for access to capital.
“We will ensure that the African youth’s potential is fully unleashed. In this regard, the bank will support the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks. Banks that will help to mobilise and deploy capital to drive the entrepreneurship of the youth of Africa – in ways that are systemic, scalable and sustainable,” he reiterated.
Adesina declared that the “shadows of youth unemployment and migration must give way to a glowing light of successful youth-driven businesses across Africa, hence Africa’s youth must stay in Africa, develop Africa, and project Africa’s future.”
He continued: “We will build on the great successes we have had in agriculture, by scaling up technologies to reach tens of millions of farmers, and supporting Africa to build competitive agricultural value chains. We will add value to what we produce in Africa, and provide creative and high-tech opportunities for massive youth engagement in agriculture and agribusiness.”