Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, says the bank will ensure that Africa’s youths’ potential are fully unleashed through the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.
Adesina made this known while giving his inaugural speech during a virtual ceremony of his the swearing-in on Tuesday 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 youths of Africa.
He said this would be done “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,” the AfDB president said.
Adesina 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.
He said that the bank would add value to what was produced agriculturally in Africa and provide creative and high-tech opportunities for massive youth engagement in agriculture and agribusiness.
He said that special attention would be given to regional industrial value chains and the strengthening of financial markets.
The AfDB president said this was to expand intra-regional trade and competitiveness and boost the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Meanwhile, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Chairman, Board of Governors of the bank, commended Africa for the progress it had recorded in the achievement of the AfCFTA.
Ofori-Atta, who is also Ghana’s Minister for Finance, said that a focused implementation of the AfCFTA would accelerate the implementation of the bank’s High 5 priorities, the AU Agenda 2063 and Africa’s recovery from the pandemic.
“The AfCFTA is a critical step in our collective vision for an Africa beyond aid. Ghana is humbled and privileged to host the AfCFTA,” he said.
Adesina, who was elected president of the bank in 2015, was unanimously elected for five-year tenure.