African Development Bank boosts Cameroon livestock and fish farming with €84 million loan
September 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
|The loan, approved by the Bank’s Board on Wednesday, will support the modernization of beef, pork and fish production, with significant improvements to food and nutrition in the country|
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 13, 2018/ — The African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) has extended a loan of €84 million to Cameroon to support livestock and fish production in the central African country in line with the Bank’s strategies to create jobs and raise household incomes.
The loan, approved by the Bank’s Board on Wednesday, will support the modernization of beef, pork and fish production, with significant improvements to food and nutrition in the country.
Both the Bank and the Government of Cameroon are implementing strategic policies aimed at improving food and nutritional security, reducing poverty and improving production infrastructure in rural areas. The Bank’s signature High 5s strategy includes policies to feed Africa, industrialize the continent and improve the quality of life of its people.
The project approved by the Board will specifically target raising standards and competitiveness in such key livestock value chains as genetics improvement, feeding, slaughter, processing, conservation and transportation. For fish production, the focus will be on rearing, conservation, storage, and processing.
While the project has a national scope, the Cameroon government has identified three main target areas – the North-West for production, and Central and Coastal for consumption. The impact of the cross-cutting actions involved will, however, be felt in the other regions of the country as well.
Key beneficiaries of the project will be stockbreeders and their cooperatives who constitute 45% of the pastoral sector labour force; fish farmers, input producers and sellers, traders, women wholesale fishmongers and processing operators. In addition, up to 350 higher education graduates will be trained and settled as business leaders.
The project’s total cost is estimated at €99.27million (CFAF 65.113 billion. The bank will provide a loan of € 84.00 million (CFAF 55.100 billion) (while the government will contribute €15.27 million (CFAF 10 billion) in counterpart funding.
Could the future of food in the world depend on what Africa does with agriculture?
September 3, 2018 | 0 Comments
With over 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and more than two billion affected by malnutrition, food insecurity remains a real threat to global development
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, September 2, 2018/ — Addressing a standing room only crowd of global agriculture experts at the FAO headquarters in Rome, 2017 World Food Prize Laureate and President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), Akinwumi Adesina, says the answer is a resounding yes!
He believes Africa does not need aid but disciplined investments. According to this grandson of a subsistence farmer, he says the time has come to view investment and development opportunities in Africa through a totally different lens.
With over 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and more than two billion affected by malnutrition, food insecurity remains a real threat to global development.
Adesina, who is making a global pitch for renewed visionary leadership and strategic alliances, “the future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with Agriculture.”
The African Development Bank, which he leads, envisions a food secure continent which uses advanced technologies, creatively adapts to climate change, and develops a whole new generation of what he describes as ‘agripreneurs’ – empowered youth and women who he expects to take agriculture to the next level.
By 2050, an additional 38 million African will be hungry. The paradox of lack in the midst of plenty, and Africa’s growing youth bulge are some of the reasons why Adesina’s sense of urgency is resonating with numerous government, private sector, and multilateral leaders during recent European and Asian trips. The banker and 2017 World Food Prize Laureate will be the first to admit that he considers himself the ‘evangelist-in-chief’ for a food secure Africa.
Africa continues to import what it should be producing, spending $35 billion on food imports each year, a figure that is expected to rise to $110 billion in 2025 if present trends continue.
A few days later, Adesina joined Rockefeller Foundation President Raj Shah, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, and 2018 World Food Prize nominees Lawrence Haddad and David Navarro, among other prominent global academic, development, and agriculture experts at Wageningen University and Research, in the Netherlands, to make the case for urgent collective action by State and non-State players to accelerate Africa’s agricultural growth and transformation.
Africa receives only 2 percent of the $100 billion annual revenues from chocolates globally. Adesina tells his audience that “adding value to what nations produce, is the secret to their wealth. Producing chocolate instead of simply exporting cocoa beans does not require rocket science.”
To expand opportunities for youth, women, and private sector players, Adesina is on a global mission to promote and seek support for the bank’s Affirmative Finance for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program which aims to mobilize $3 billion to support women entrepreneurs who historically lack access to finance, land, and land titles; a $300 million ENABLE Youth program to develop the next generation of agribusiness and commercial farmers for Africa; and a new global investment marketplace, the African Investment Forum, which will be held in Johannesburg November 7-9.
In separate meetings with Sigrid A.M. Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in the Hague; Peter van Mierlo, CEO of the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), key private sector players, and members of the Dutch Foreign Affairs Advisory Council, Adesina said Africa and its partners must seize unprecedented opportunities for innovative partnerships and increased development impact.
Mierlo believes, “a huge benefit for Africa is that it can skip development cycles that often almost all developed countries had to go through, by deploying new technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics in agriculture”.
In a continent where more than 640 million are without electricity, Adesina says the private sector is key to Africa’s development in Africa’s energy and agriculture sectors.
“If Africa is going to turn the tide of irregular migration, this is critical. There are three ways in which we can collaborate: either through the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility, Africa 50 – a private equity institution which has raised more than US$ 850 million from 22 countries, and the new Africa Investment Forum.”
Adesina, recognizes that the lack of electricity is Africa’s biggest development impediment. The Bank’s new and ambitious Desert-to-Power initiative which aims to generate 10,000MW of power across Africa’s Sahel region will be critical to reducing migration and climate change impacts. We will do this through a blended finance mechanism with guarantees”, Mr. Adesina said.
Speaking to a High-level Roundtable of Dutch Business Leaders at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), informed key private sector leaders that “governance structures and business regulatory environments are changing in Africa. Indeed, several African countries have already made significant progress in improving their general business and investment environments. Africa is doing better than some of the Asian countries,” he reminded his audience. “In the energy sector, the African Development Bank is investing $12 billion over the next 5 years, with the goal of leveraging $40-50 billion; and an additional $US 24 billion, over ten years, in agriculture to implement its Feed Africa Strategy.”
Agriculture steadily taking center-stage
The strategy is already bearing fruit with the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones in several African countries, including Ethiopia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique, with a plan to reach 15 countries in a few years.
Strategically located in and around rural farming communities Adesina says “these agriculture zones will form the nucleus of a new wave of agro-industries and greenfield ventures, attracting agripreneurs, biotechnology firms, intellectual and capital investments. They will also ensure that foods are processed and packaged right where they are produced, rather than in urban centers far removed from centers of production.”
Described as a visionary optimist by many colleagues, Adesina believes the bank’s policies and investments will help turn rural areas from zones of economic misery into zones of economic prosperity.
African Development Bank President Adesina calls for emerging agriculture technologies to optimize farmers’ output
August 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
Africa should be the breadbasket of the world, has no reason spending US$ 35 billion a year importing food, Adesina tells Agriculture conference in U.S.
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 9, 2018/ — The President of the African Development Bank Group (www.afdb.org), Akinwumi Adesina, has made an urgent call to give farmers across the continent new technologies with the potential to transform agricultural production. Adesina said the technology transfer was needed immediately and that evidence from countries like Nigeria demonstrated that technology plus strong government backing was already yielding positive results.
”Technologies to achieve Africa’s green revolution exist, but are mostly just sitting on the shelves. The challenge is a lack of supportive policies to ensure that they are scaled up to reach millions of farmers,” Adesina said during a keynote speech delivered at the 2018 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C August 5, 2018.
Adesina cited the case of Nigeria, where policy during his tenure as the country’s Minister of Agriculture, resulted in a rice production revolution in three years.
“All it took was sheer political will, supported by science, technology and pragmatic policies…Just like in the case of rice, the same can be said of a myriad of technologies, including high-yielding water efficient maize, high-yielding cassava varieties, animal and fisheries technologies,” Adesina said.
The African Development Bank is pointing the way to how this can be done, and is currently working with the World Bank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to mobilize US$ 1 billion to scale up agricultural technologies across Africa under a new initiative called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).
TAAT is taking bold steps to bring down some of the barriers preventing farmers from accessing latest seed varieties and technologies to improve their productivity.
“With the rapid pace of growth of the use of drones, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and block chains, agriculture as we know it today will change,” the President said. “It is more likely that the future farmers will be sitting in their homes with computer applications using drone to determine the size of their farms, monitor and guide the applications of farm inputs, and with driverless combine harvesters bringing in the harvest.”
Adesina used the opportunity to advocate for African universities to adapt their curriculum to enable technology-driven farmers and to focus on agribusiness entrepreneurship for young people, emphasizing the need to rise beyond theories to application.
Through its innovative Enable Youth initiative, the African Development Bank has in the past two years committed close to US$ 300 million to develop the next generation of agribusiness and commercial farmers for Africa.
Adesina stressed the Bank’s resolve to change the face of agriculture in Africa to unleash new sources of wealth.
AAEA President Scott Swinton said Adesina and the African Development Bank exemplify the use of economics that makes a difference in people’s lives.
“If applied economics is economics that make a difference, I think that there is no better example of someone who has used that than Akinwumi Adesina,” Swindon said.
Adesina told delegates at the 2018 conference attended by over 1,600 agricultural and applied economists from around the world: “There is no reason why Africa should be spending US$ 35 billion a year importing food. All it needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers, and assure lower food prices for consumers.”
Adesina, who was the 2017 World Food Prize winner, is advocating for the creation of staple crops processing zones across Africa (SCPZs): vast areas within rural areas set aside and managed for agribusiness and food manufacturing industries and other agro-allied industries, enabled with right policies and infrastructure.
“I am convinced that just like industrial parks helped China, so will the SCPZs help to create new economic zones in rural areas that will help lift hundreds of millions out of poverty through the transformation of agriculture- the main source of their livelihoods- from a way of life into a viable profitable business that will unleash new sources of wealth,” he said.
The African Development Bank has already begun investing in the development of processing zones in a number of African countries, including Ethiopia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique, with a plan to reach 15 countries in a few years.
To help Africa transform its agriculture, the Bank is investing US$ 24 billion over the next ten years to implement its Feed Africa Strategy.
African Development Bank Group Annual Meetings: Regional cooperation, structural reforms key to economic transformation
May 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and a former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank is attending the 2018 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group in Busan, Korea|
BUSAN, Republic of Korea, May 22, 2018/ — Africa’s development agenda must focus on the socio-cultural and commercial interests of Africans and the upliftment of Africa’s trade and economic ecosystem, said Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and a former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, during his address at the 2018 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group (https://am.AfDB.org/en) in Busan, Korea.
“Africa’s economic transformation will be best achieved through fast-tracking regional cooperation and the execution of hard-nosed structural reforms that focus on the development of the continent’s human capital and material resources,” said Emir Sanusi II.
The Emir shared insight about revamping African regional integration, trade and economic relations with Executive Directors and Governors of the Bank, comprising Finance, Budget and Economic Planning Ministers from member nations.
An economist and financial risk expert, the monarch traced Africa’s post-colonial economic woes to the continent’s fiscal indiscipline and endemic disregard for its competitive advantages. For these reasons, he asserted, Africa’s development was stunted and its global trade ties lopsided in favour of offshore trading partners.
“Nine out of every 10 countries in Africa have huge trade deficits with China, but Asia developed mostly on domestic investments and resources,” he noted, underscoring the need for African Governments to invest in and promote creativity and indigenous enterprise.
The Emir advocated a series of structural reforms, including strategic investments in key sectors including agriculture, infrastructure, education, and small and medium enterprises. He called for deliberate industrial diversification noting that China has begun to move its mega-sized manufacturing capabilities out of low-cost industries.
African Governments also need to eradicate constitutional provisions and structures that increase the cost of governance at national and sub-national levels, manage demographic growth, and revamp and harmonize moribund and ineffective customs and excise duties that promote cross-border smuggling and revenue losses to governments, he said.
Africa’s debt burden continues to inhibit capital investment in industrialization, he observed, lamenting the misallocation of resources: “We need to begin to ask ourselves, ‘what do we do with the available funds in our coffers?’”
“Perceptions matter. So there is an urgent need for improved transparency, as this is clearly linked to good governance,” he said. “We need to accept that we have a perception problem that we must address. We need to tackle corruption, block leakages and create opportunities for new jobs.”
“Private sector capital is crucial for sustained economic growth but so is government’s intervention in guaranteeing business externalities like power, water and waste management, roads, housing and the legal and regulatory environment for innovation, commerce and industry.”
On trade, the Emir called for a regional and pan-African approach to trade negotiations, a tactical model which should be led by the Bank.
“The African Development Bank has the intellectual resources and clearly is better positioned to negotiate with China on behalf of Africa as a bloc of nations,” he said. “Europe approached global trade as a bloc so why can’t African nations do the same? This is clearly another area in urgent need of the Bank’s intervention.”
President Adesina recalled the Emir’s progressive posture during his time in public service. “As Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was pro-development. He channeled significant investments into agriculture, infrastructure and SMEs.”
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
Korea is a model for Africa’s industrialization, says President Adesina
May 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
Young Africans should be trusted and supported to drive the continent’s industrialization
The 53rd Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank opened in Busan, Korea, on Monday with a call on African Governments to create the right environment for the private sector to lead the continent’s industrial revolution. Participants also advocated for a balance between the role of the State and the private sector.
Korea was presented as a good model for industrialization which African countries can learn from.
“Korea’s example is incredible. Korea was as poor as any African country in the 1960s with a low per capital income. Today, thanks to the determination of its people and its commitment to industrialization, Korea is the 11th biggest economy in the world, an example Africa should learn from,” said African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina at a media breakfast.
Discussions around the media breakfast table focused on the theme of the 2018 Annual Meetings, “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization,” and the need to tell the great stories of Africa – the story of a resurgent continent ready to take its rightful place in the industrial world.
“If you look at countries that have industrialized – China, South Korea, Singapore and many others – the role of the State was clear. One of the things that I think we need to take out of this conversation is that the State has a great role to play in Africa’s industrial revolution, particularly in terms of industrial policy, providing direction, support for infrastructure, and directing capital to particular industries,” he stressed. “Ethiopia is a very good example.”
Adesina explained that industrialization was selected as the theme of the 2018 Annual Meetings to further showcase what Africa can learn from a country like Korea.
“There is nowhere better than Korea to address this theme. Korea’s incredible success over the last 60 years provides a perfect model to the African Development Bank to redouble its efforts towards Africa’s economic development. Africa is a tremendously blessed continent, but it needs to industrialize, create lots of jobs, and be more competitive in the global market.”
For Africa to witness true agricultural transformation, technologies need to reach farmers to enhance productivity. This was the message of the Leadership4Agriculture Forum, held on Day 1 of the meetings.
“We cannot say we have leadership when we still have 65 percent of the land in Africa uncultivated. We must develop solutions to agriculture and ensure that the sector can grow to a US $1-trillion business,” Adesina said.
Participants in Monday’s Leadership4Agriculture session included Ministers and key partners involved in the development of agricultural industrialization of the continent. They emphasized the need to enhance the competitiveness of Africa’s agriculture sector and to develop industrial value chains required to power the growth of the sector to a world-class industry.
Mima Nedelcovych, President and Chief Executive, Initiative for Global Development, said the African agriculture sector required efforts to improve its competitiveness and called for reforms to ensure that low-interest rate lending is available to the agriculture sector.
“We have to take action as well as talk. Talk is important, but we also want to take people to task,” said Jennifer Blanke, the Bank’s Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, on moving past discussing agricultural challenges to executing solutions for them.
How to leverage the continent’s youth to accelerate economic prosperity through industrialization was the focus of a session on “Bridging innovation and industry: African youth solving continental challenges.”
Badr Idrissi, a young Moroccan industrialist, co-founded ATLAN Space, a start-up that uses artificial intelligence and drone technology to solve some socio-economic problems. The innovation has helped Morocco to effectively fight illegal fishing.
“They say that artificial intelligence is not meant for Africa. We are here to prove that wrong,” Idrissi said.
Idrissi used his 12-year international work experience at Microsoft and Nokia to develop and provide tech solutions, which have created employment for several young Moroccans.
In Kenya, a young banker, Lorna Rutto, quit her job to co-found EcoPost, a social enterprise that has created thousands of sustainable jobs for people in marginalized communities, in addition to conserving the environment.
“I was inspired by what I thought was going wrong in my community. Trees were being cut down and plastic waste was all over the place,” Rutto told the session. “It was very scary for me to resign a good bank job, but I had to fulfil my ambition as an entrepreneur. That was when I developed the idea that waste was a resource and not a thing to throw away.”
EcoPost has so far transformed over 3 million kilograms of plastic waste into plastic lumber, saved over 500 acres of forest and helped mitigate climate change in Kenya.
Adesina commended the young entrepreneurs for converting challenges into opportunities and urged them to continue representing the industrialization of Africa.
“Young people are not just the future of Africa, they are the present,” said Adesina. “They represent entrepreneurship and energy. This must be nurtured, harnessed and scaled up to propel Africa’s industrial revolution and the Bank is here to harness that.”
For more information on the 2018 Annual Meetings, visit: www.afdb.org/am
Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank Group: “Accelerating Africa’s industrialization”
March 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
|21 – 25 May 2018, Busan Exhibition Conference Center, Busan, Republic of South Korea|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, March 23, 2018/ — The 53rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank and 44th Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Fund (http://www.AfDB.org/am), the concessional arm of the Bank Group, are scheduled to take place from May 21-25, 2018 in Busan, Korea.
While Africa has enjoyed strong economic growth for almost two decades, the continent has not seen a commensurate rise in industrialization. On average, African industry generates merely US$700 of GDP per capita, which is barely a fifth in East Asia (US$3,400). In addition, African exports consist of low technology manufactures and unprocessed natural resources, which represent more than 80 percent of exports from Algeria, Angola or Nigeria, for example.
Africa’s rapid industrialization holds the potential for a win-win scenario – for the world, and certainly for the continent. It would also help raise productivity by spurring technological progress and innovation while creating higher-skilled jobs in the formal sector; promote linkages between services and agricultural sectors; between rural and urban economies; and among consumers, intermediates and capital goods industries. Industrialization will also make the prices of manufactured exports less volatile or susceptible to long-term deterioration than those of primary goods, as well as help African countries escape dependence on primary commodity exports.
The theme is generating a lot of interest at a time when Korean and Asian companies are increasingly active in Africa. What lessons can Africa learn from Korea’s development experience? Can relations between both regions, built on a win-win formula, enable Africa claim a more significant share of world trade? Can Afro-Asian commercial and financial ties favor the development of the African private sector? What are the most effective policy levers that could foster structural transformation on the continent? How can the continent learn from the experiences of Korea and leading African nations such as Mauritius, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Rwanda in the industrialization process? These and other questions will be debated during the Busan Annual Meetings.
The Annual Meetings are one of the largest economic gatherings on the continent. Thousands of delegates, Heads of State, public and private sectors stakeholders, development partners and academics, will reflect on Africa’s industrialization − one of the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities (https://www.afdb.org/en/the-high-5) and an avenue to improve the living conditions of Africans.
During the meetings, the Bank will organize a series of knowledge events to generate new ideas for developing and financing Africa’s industrialization. Highlights of the meetings will include a high-level presidential panel on Accelerating African Industrialization: Bringing the future to the present. The panel will be a platform for political leaders from Africa and Korea to present their visions and strategies for industrialization as well as ideas for overcoming implementation challenges.
The Bank will launch the updated version of the African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2018 – the Bank’s flagship economic publication. Several knowledge events are on the programme such as Pathways to Industrialization, where panelists will deliberate on the various trajectories African countries can follow towards sustainable industrialization. A panel on Future of Work and Industrialization will examine how Africa can adapt its educational systems and workers’ skills to suit new economic realities, particularly for industrial development of the continent, among other sessions.
Journalists willing to take part in the Meetings are requested to send to the Bank a designation letter from their news organization at the following address: (email@example.com). Upon receipt of the letter, the Bank will send a personal code that will allow online registration. Online registration will close on 13th May 2018. Journalists from countries without Korean diplomatic representation should register early enough in order to get assistance from the Bank in obtaining a visa should they need one.
The African Development Bank will not cover transport and subsistence costs for journalists travelling to Busan.
Adesina Urges America to Support African Agriculture as a Business
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
|I do not seek aid for Africa. I seek investments in Africa – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank|
ARLINGTON, United States of America, February 22, 2018/ — The President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has made a strong case for increased American and global investments to help unlock Africa’s agriculture potential.
According to Adesina, “For too long, Agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps – pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”
Participants at the Forum included the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue; Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Stephen Censky; President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Kenneth Quinn; Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Robert Johansson; Deputy Chief Economist, Warren Preston; and several top level government officials and private sector operators.
Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.
“Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to US $ 1 trillion by 2030. This is the time for US agri-businesses to invest in Africa,” he said. ‘’And for good reason: Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5 trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050.”
The U.S. government was urged to be at the forefront of efforts to encourage fertilizer and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments on the continent.
“As the nation that first inspired me and then welcomed me with open arms, permit me to say that I am here to seek a partnership with America: a genuine partnership to help transform agriculture in Africa, and by so doing unlock the full potential of agriculture in Africa, unleash the creation of wealth that will lift millions out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America,” the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate told the Forum.”
Adesina told more than 2,000 delegates that the African Development Bank is spearheading a number of transformative business and agricultural initiatives.
“We are launching the Africa Investment Forum, as a 100% transactional platform, to leverage global pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa from November 7-9.”
The World Bank, International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, are partnering with the African Investment Forum to de-risk private sector investments.
The African Development Bank is also pioneering the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones in 10 African countries, that are expected to transform rural economies into zones of economic prosperity and save African economies billions of dollars in much needed foreign reserves.
“We must now turn the rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. This requires a total transformation of the agriculture sector. At the core of this must be rapid agricultural industrialization. We must not just focus on primary production but on the development of agricultural value chains,” Adesina added. “That way, Africa will turn from being at the bottom to the top of global value chains.”
In his keynote address U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, said:
“The U.S. Administration has removed more restrictive regulations to agriculture than any other administration. Our goal is to dismantle restrictions that have eroded agricultural business opportunities.”
“Agriculture feeds prosperity and accounts for 20 cents of every dollar. As global prosperity grows, it in turn fuels the demand for more nutritious food and business opportunities,” he added.
In his concluding remarks, Adesina informed participants about a new $ 1 billion initiative, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to unlock Africa’s huge potential in the savannahs.
Expressing strong optimism that the future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will come from agriculture, Adesina said:
“Together, let our roots of prosperity grow downwards and bear fruit upwards. As we do, rural Africa and rural America will brim with new life, much like I witnessed in Indiana, during my time as a graduate student in America. Then, we will have changed the 3 ‘Ps’ to – Prosperity, Prosperity and Prosperity!”
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 44 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
AfDB Launches Youth Advisory Group to Create 25 Million Jobs
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs|
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 28, 2017/ — The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Akinwumi Adesina, has launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) to provide insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth, as outlined in the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (JfYA) (http://APO.af/nRtVAs).
The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs. It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa today.
The advisory group, inaugurated on the sidelines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on Monday, November 27, will work with the Bank to create jobs for Africa’s youth.
“This is a huge opportunity for Africa. If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20% annual growth. That means Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 million per year for the next thirty years. Africa’s per capita income will rise by 55% every year to the year 2050,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said at the inauguration of the Group.
Adesina, who identified Africa’s greatest asset as its youth, observed that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labour market each year, only 3 million (about 33% of African youth) are in wage employment, while the rest are underemployed or in vulnerable employment. The annual gap of more than 8 million jobs is going to worsen, with the number of youth expected to double to more than 800 million in the next decades.
“Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” he stressed, noting that unless employment opportunities are created for them, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.
Africa’s youths, though strong and dynamic, cross the desert or the Mediterranean sea because they do not find decent jobs in Africa. Graduates are wandering in the streets, jobless. The low level of employment opportunities is also fueling violence and extremism in Africa. “40% of African youths engaged in armed violence join gangs or terrorist groups because of limited opportunities in their countries,” Adesina said.
“66 million African youths earn less than $2 a day, less than the price of a hamburger,” the AfDB President emphasized. “66 million is 8 times the size of Switzerland, 6 times the size of Belgium, the same size as UK, France or Italy, and 80% of Germany’s population,” he added.
The Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) comprises nine members under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the creation of employment opportunities for African youth.
The PYAG members are: Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Group, Tanzania (Chair); Uzodinma Iweala, award-winning author, Nigeria; Mamadou Toure, Founder / CEO, Africa 2.0 / Ubuntu Capital, Cameroon; Vanessa Moungar, Human and Social Development Director, AfDB and member of President Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa, Chad; Francine Muyumba, President, Panafrican Youth Union, Democratic Republic of Congo; Jeremy Johnson, Co-founder, Andela, USA; Clarisse Iribagiza, CEO, Hehe, Rwanda; Ada Osakwe, CEO, Agrolay Ventures, Nigeria; and Monica Musonda, CEO of Java Foods, Zambia.
On the rationale behind the setting up of the advisory group, President Adesina explained: “We recognize the enormous amount of energy, creative and innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial excellence that many of our youth bring to the table. For this reason, the Bank must ensure that it is well advised by cutting-edge youth representatives on its policies, actions and programmes, for the benefit of Africa’s youth.”
“The members of the Presidential Youth Advisory Group are expected to actively engage private sector partners, government leaders, civil society, donor partners, and other stakeholders; and support the significant amount of work that the Bank is already doing and promoting across the continent through its Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy,” President Adesina added.
A youth-led economic transformation agenda
PYAG is an opportunity for leading young voices in Africa to develop new and fresh perspectives and recommend innovative solutions that will shape AfDB’s support to African countries, and reduce the scourge of Youth unemployment.
The AfDB is fully committed to working with the PYAG to scale up and expedite results that deliver decent and sustainable jobs for African youth, through formal employment and successful youth entrepreneurship that allows African youth to become their own drivers of economic prosperity, social stability and environmental sustainability.
Ashish Thakkar, CEO of the Mara Group and Chair of the PYAG, said: “It is a great honour to serve our continent in this function. We know that the stakes are high, but we are committed to the task of creating flourishing youth businesses that provide tremendous value. We are also focused on facilitating the achievement of AfDB’s High 5s and Sustainable Development Goals. We have just concluded our work program for the next year and have hit the ground running.”
He described how his family lost everything they had during the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.
“I have borrowed $5,000 to launch my business without any form of support. Today, Mara Group has 14,000 employees around the world. I was alone, but imagine what we can do together with the support of an institution like the AfDB.”
“I have never heard of an institution as important as the AfDB setting up and advisory group only made of youth. A Chinese proverb has it that if you want 1 year of prosperity, plant a grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, plant a tree. If you want a century of prosperity, invest on people,” said Mamadou Touré, a member of the group.
Also speaking, Ada Osakwe said: “40% of entrepreneurs in Nigeria are women, but 73% operate in consumer retail systems. We need to address that and provide youth with more lucrative jobs.”
To make agriculture more attractive to young people, the AfDB last year invested $800 million in supporting young entrepreneurs in agriculture as a business in 8 countries. It will reach 15 countries this year. The Bank expects to invest 1.5 billion per year for the next 10 years to support young agripreneurs.
The AfDB is delivering on its youth strategy
The AfDB has made great progress toward implementing its strategy through three key pillars: innovation, integration and investment. In terms of integration, the Bank entered into partnership with the International Labour Organization to strengthen the capacity of African countries to harmonize Youth Employment into national policies.
The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund which will serve as a financial and operational instrument, with initial support of USD 4.4 million by Denmark and Norway.
The African Development has also developed the Enabling Youth Employment (EYE) Index to measure youth employment outcomes and enabling policies at country levels.
“With this amazing group of very diverse young individuals, we even hope to exceed the Bank’s goal to create 25 million jobs and 50 million youth equipped with the right skills,” said Thakkar enthusiastically. “It is time to change the narrative about Africa’s youth!”
Africa must implement 1990 Yamoussoukro agreement for open skies, says AfDB President
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
“Together, let’s open up the skies of Africa, and together let’s integrate Africa. By so doing, we will build stronger and more resilient economies.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
While 20 countries have signed on, the 27-year old accord still faces implementation challenges, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB said Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the third ICAO World Aviation Forum in Abuja.
“Rigid bilateral air service agreements have made it difficult to liberalize the regional aviation markets. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience,” Adesina said.
The Bank President also emphasized the Bank’s strong support for Nigeria and expressed confidence in the ability of Nigeria to deliver on its policy commitments.
“The hosting of this global forum here in Abuja is a clear mark of confidence in Nigeria. Let me use this opportunity to commend you and the government on the Economic Recovery and Growth Program, to build a more resilient economy,” Adesina said.
“As you know, we provided $600 million to support the government to address its budget deficit challenges and stand ready to continue to fully support the government as it embarks on efforts to diversify the economy and raise the revenue profiles and productivity of the non-oil sectors.”
The Bank President also commended the Government of Nigeria for its efforts to improve the state of aviation in Nigeria. The aviation sector plays an important in opening up doors to investors, he added.
Air transport promotes trade, investments and tourism, and boosts economic growth. Today, Africa’s aviation industry adds US $73 billion to the continent’s annual GDP and employs about 7 million people – an average 130,000 people per country in Africa, according to the Bank President.
The aviation industry is projected to grow by 5% annually for the next 20 years. From serving 120 million passengers in 2015, the industry will triple and serve over 300 million passengers by 2035, Adesina observed.
“That’s the good news,” he said, adding that regrettably Africa’s aviation growth is held back by very restrictive regulatory environments which limit market size, profitability, and drive up costs.
“Aircraft departure fees alone in Africa are 30% above the global average, while taxes, fees and charges are 8% higher. Given lower per capita incomes in Africa, high fares essentially tax the poor out of the air! We may have an open sky policy, but then end up with empty skies!”
The AfDB President called for the development of airport terminal capacity to expand passenger growth, develop regional aviation hubs to improve connectivity, and upgrade air navigational services and air traffic control to improve safety.
“Modern and cheaper technologies such as the satellite based air navigation services now preclude the need for ground infrastructure, and make it possible to serve remote areas with radars. We must also develop within Africa, aircraft maintenance services and strengthen regional and sub-regional aviation safety agencies,” he noted.
The AfDB has invested $20 billion in infrastructure over the past 10 years, with over $1 billion in the aviation sector. The Bank’s investments include building modern airports and terminal extensions in Senegal, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Cabo Verde and improving airport navigation systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The AfDB supported aircraft fleet expansion programs for Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire. The Bank also supported regional efforts for improving aviation safety and capacity building.
Adesina congratulated Nigeria on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certification of two airports in Abuja and Lagos as a consequence of meeting global standards, noting that the feat makes Nigeria the only country with two ICAO-certified airports in West and Central Africa.
The objective of the Bank is to support the ICAO safety and security standards certification of 20 African airports by 2019, Adesina said.
The African Development Bank will soon be going to its Board with a new aviation sector framework to support the revitalization of the aviation industry in Africa, he said.
The Bank, Adesina explained, is working with other partners on establishing facilities to de-risk financing for aircraft acquisition, upgrading of airports, expansion of regional navigational and air safety, and deregulation of the aviation industry to be more competitive and efficient.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is partnering with the Nigerian Government, the African Union Commission (AUC), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency to co-host the third ICAO World Aviation Forum from November 20-22 in Abuja, Nigeria.
AfDB seeks global support for Africa’s young farmers
October 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Highlights agribusiness as solution to Africa’s youth unemployment|
DES MOINES, United States of America, October 18, 2017/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) has called for global support for Africa’s young farmers and “agripreneurs”, highlighting how agribusiness is the answer to the continent’s youth employment.
In collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development, the Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD), Michigan State University, Iowa State University, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the AfDB brought together stakeholders to discuss how to expand economic opportunities for Africa’s youth throughout the agricultural value chain, from lab to farm to fork.
The session titled “Making Farming Cool: Investing in future African farmers and Agripreneurs” was held on the sideline of the ongoing 2017 World Food Prize Symposium-Borlaug Dialogue (http://www.WorldFoodPrize.org) in Des Moines, Iowa, and had in attendance young entrepreneurs from Africa (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), private sector representatives, policymakers and thought leaders.
Africa has the world’s youngest population with 60% being under 35 years old. There are 420 million youth aged 15-35 and this segment of the population is expected to double to 840 million by 2040.
Working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the African Development Bank is empowering young farmers under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth program.
“Africa’s next billionaires are not going to come from oil, gas, or the extractives. ENABLE Youth is about investing in small agribusinesses today so that they can grow into large enterprises tomorrow,” President Adesina said.
“By empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain, we enable them to establish viable and profitable agribusinesses, jobs and better incomes for themselves and their communities.”
He explained how attracting a new cadre of young, energetic and talented agripreneurs – who will drive the adoption of new technologies throughout the value chain, raise productivity and meet rising food demands – is an urgent priority.
Recent studies indicate that as African economies transform, there are expanding opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship throughout high-potential value chains – literally from lab to fork – where consumer demand is increasing, including horticulture, dairy, oilseeds, poultry and aquaculture.
In addition, there are huge opportunities for engaging African youth in services and logistical sectors in key off-farm activities such as transportation, packaging, ICT and other technology development and light infrastructure – that add value to on-farm productivity and efficiency, in ways that could not envisioned before.
The whole idea of connecting farms to markets, particularly rising urban and regional markets, is where Africa needs to plug in this bulging youth population, Adesina said.
The Bank President highlighted major efforts needed to provide young Africans with new business opportunities, modern and practical skills, access to new technologies, land, equipment and finance that will allow them to transition from subsistence livelihood into higher-paying work, whether these are on or off the farm.
In his words, “This is how we intend to make farming cool!”
Through the ENABLE Youth program, the AfDB and its partners are empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain with plans to train 10,000 agriculture entrepreneurs, or “agripreneurs”, in African countries, launching at least 300,000 enterprises and creating 1.5 million jobs over the next 5 years.
Africa already has shining examples of successful youth agripreneurs, nine of whom were in the room as Adesina spoke.
He cited three examples of the thousands of young agripreneurs whose fascinating stories fill him with a sense of hope and urgency.
“We need to effectively utilize this African diaspora in the same way done by the Asian countries by leveraging on their expertise to fast-track Africa’s development agenda and allow all Africans to contribute, regardless of whether they are based locally within the African continent, or outside,” Adesina noted.
On agribusiness as a solution to Africa’s youth unemployment, Jennifer Blanke, AfDB’s Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, called for access to finance for the youth agripreneurs by re-aligning incentives for commercial banks and other financial institutions to reduce lending risks.
“There are over 15 job groups along the whole agricultural value chain – from farm to fork,” she said.
Noel Mulinganya (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), a young agripreneur and leader of the Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs (a group of 20 young graduates aged between 25-35 years old from different academic backgrounds engaged in collective agribusiness enterprises), spoke of the need for funding opportunities for young African farmers.
“My aspiration and those of my colleagues is to become business builders,” he said. “We would like this program to be a platform for sharing our knowledge and experiences in order to touch and engage youths as much as we can in agribusinesses.”
Lilian Uwintwali (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), whose firm provides ICT platforms that serve over 10,000 farmers in Rwanda − linking farmers to markets, banks, insurance companies and extension services, said, “I aspire to get partnerships and investment opportunities here in the USA and I believe the discussions here at conference will help me shape a better business model for my project, m-lima, in Rwanda.”
She speaks of how farming could generate income for African youth.
“I am talking from experience because it has sustained me for the past 5 years,” she said.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
High hopes for cocoa farmers in Africa, as AfDB plans big for producing countries
August 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
Among other planned interventions, the Bank is considering support to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to reduce the volatility of the international prices of cocoa. Côte d’Ivoire leads the world in the production and export of cocoa.
Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are now at the final stages of discussions for AfDB support. A final deal is expected to be announced in the days to come.
But following high-level meetings between the governments of both countries and the AfDB President, some key agreements have already been made.
The Bank has agreed to assist the countries to establish a Cocoa Market Stabilization Fund and a Cocoa Exchange Commission for the management of production.
The AfDB has also agreed to work with them to establish a Cocoa Industrialization Fund to further grow the cocoa industry. The Fund will help in developing the regional markets for by-products and domestic processing for targeted African regional markets. The overall objective is to stimulate and expand consumption.
In line with this, the two countries have jointly requested for US $1.2 billion for mutually identified projects: to tackle the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease; build storage and warehousing facilities; promote processing and consumptions; establish the Africa cocoa exchange; and to establish the stabilization fund.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, stressed the commitment of the Bank during a three-day visit to Ghana, August 1-3, 2017.
Adesina stressed that although Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire produce 64% of the world’s cocoa, they play no role in controlling the market.
He spoke about the Bank’s plans to support Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to transform the cocoa industry and create more jobs and wealth from the produce.
“AfDB has received a request for $1.2 billion from Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture and from the Cocoa and Coffee Board of Côte d’Ivoire. We are looking at building warehouses so you can store the cocoa and not have to sell immediately after harvest,” he said.
He said the planned establishment of a stabilization fund is to deal with the volatility of prices and also to recapitalize old cocoa plantations.
Part of the loan will also finance the construction of modern storage facilities, farm rehabilitation and disease control, including compensation to owners of cocoa trees ravaged by swollen-shoot viral disease, Adesina explained.
Ghana has to move to the top of the cocoa value chain by processing and adding value to what it produces, Adesina said. He also noted that Ghana has to work closely with other countries, particularly Côte d’Ivoire, to ensure that Africa plays a greater role in the cocoa production process.
“We must use agriculture to create wealth for our farmers. To do this, we must make sure that we add value and process everything that we produce. Agriculture is not a way of life. Agriculture is a business.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Joseph Boahen Aidoostressed the need to stimulate local consumption as part of efforts to enhance production. He spoke when the AfDB President visited the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) in Tema, a city near Accra, Ghana.
Africa consumes very little of cocoa. Ghana is an example of a cocoa-producing country where local consumption is very limited.
“Value addition is the only way we can have a say in the market. As it is now, international prices are determined either at the New York Stock Exchange or the London Stock Exchange. We do not have any say.”
He stressed how the price of cocoa had fallen by 40% in the past six months, dropping from about US $3,000 per ton to an average of about $1,900 per ton.
The only way out of the price volatility, he explained, is to improve upon processing and local production.
Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, called for support to increase the country’s earnings from the commodity.
“Between us and Côte d’Ivoire, we control 60-70 per cent of cocoa in the world. But we have remained price takers. That should not happen. That is because our leaders have not been working together. We are excited that the President of the AfDB is stepping in to help us. We are now working together to see how we can transform this industry.”
He stressed that both countries should work together to change the cocoa narrative.
Ofori-Atta pointed out that though the cocoa seeds alone generate US $140 billion worth of business, Africa earns very little from it.
“Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are putting together a package to see how we stabilize and ensure that we get better deals in the future and change the fortunes of our farmers. We should be able to pay our farmers competitive prices,” he noted.
Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the government was working on the restoration of existing warehouses to provide storage space to private traders to promote the purchase of produce at the farm gate and he welcomed the AfDB’s help.
Adesina assured of the Bank’s support and promised that support would eventually extend to other cocoa producers such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo.
Cocoa is a strategic crop because of its high contribution to Ghana’s export earnings. It is cultivated predominantly by smallholder farmers with an average of 2 hectares per farm. Only 10% of the estimated 800,000 hectares under cultivation are large-scale commercial farmers.
The grinding of cocoa to produce the primary cocoa product used for confectionaries and manufacturing is done outside the country, aside from small-scale domestic grinding including the Cocoa Processing Company, a subsidiary of the COCOABOD.
The cocoa sub-sector is currently adversely affected by policy failure, market failure and under-provision of critical domestic and regional public goods, leading to low and volatile global and farm gate prices. Production is worsened by cocoa swollen shoot virus disease.
Indeed, all the benefits from reforms such as yield increases, are diminished in light of low prices and result in reform measures benefiting consuming countries at the expense of local farmers. Trading and processing activities are dominated by few firms, while the production of the cocoa beans is dominated by many small-scale producers.
Cocoa bean prices are determined in the trade houses (since there are only a few buyers), this creates a favourable condition for traders and processors to influence prices. The attendant effect is low revenue from cocoa farmers.
Governments of both countries have been meeting at the ministerial levels to swiftly act on addressing the volatility in the international price. Issues being discussed include enforcing minimum value addition rather than outright sales of cocoa beans; stimulating/encouraging local and regional consumption of cocoa; and exploring the regional market dimension by promoting cocoa products other than chocolate.
The AfDB is mobilizing experts to undertake an assessment mission in the two countries.
How AfDB’s investments in youth raise hope for a new Africa
August 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
“The future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe; it should not be at the bottom of the Mediterranean; it lies in a prosperous Africa. We must create greater economic opportunities for our youth right at home in Africa.” – Akinwumi Adesina to G7 leaders
Sixty per cent of unemployed people are young women and men. Of the young people who are employed, many are trapped in low-productivity work in the informal sector. Providing young African people with the education, skills and capacities for gainful employment is considered an urgent priority.
Thanks to the African Development Bank (AfDB), a new crop of highly inspired young Africans are gradually emerging. AfDB’s initiatives in this area are seen as model of how the continent’s young population could become a development asset for a new Africa.
To enable them contribute to the economy and to achieve an improved quality of life, a growing number of youths are embracing small, medium and large agriculture-based industries nudged on by the AfDB.
They are taking hold of their destiny. They can be also found in education, health, ICT and other facets of entrepreneurship.
Indeed, latest statistics reveal that many young Africans are not only exploring their inner potential, they are taking advantage of innovation platforms, inspired by the African Development Bank.
Through initiatives like the Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA), Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth, and the African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF), the AfDB is equipping young people with the right skills for business and employment. AfDB has also strengthened its support for science, technology and innovation training by investing in centres of excellence, working in collaboration with the private sector.
With 200 million Africans recorded to be between the ages of 15 and 29, youth unemployment and underemployment are high. Investing in skills through technical and vocational education will be essential to enabling young people to find jobs and business opportunities.
“We will keep Africa’s youth in Africa by expanding economic opportunities. This will help Africa to turn its demographic asset into an economic dividend,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, said.
At the African Union Summit in January, the African Union (AU) adopted the theme for 2017 as “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.”
AU Heads of States and Governments recognized a country-level demographic dividend as central to the continent’s economic transformation in the context of AU Agenda 2063 – its global strategy for socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years.
Given Africa’s current demographic structure with a high youthful population, the regional body sees a substantial potential for economic transformation.
According to the AU Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, “Africa is on the march towards a more prosperous future in which all its citizens, young, old, male, female, rural, urban, of all creeds and backgrounds are empowered to realize their full potential, live with satisfaction and pride about their continent.”
AfDB is showing that this is doable and is already leading the way.
For instance, through its Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative, AfDB has taken a comprehensive and integrated approach to equipping young people for work and enterprise.
Over the next decade, Jobs for Youth in Africa projects to generate 25 million jobs and impact 50 million youths.
In the agriculture sector, the AfDB is focusing on Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth programs, developing small and medium enterprises and creating jobs in agriculture. ENABLE Youth is a programme for young African people (18-35 years old) wanting to start a business in the agricultural sector. It works to promote, enhance, and modernize agricultural entrepreneurship in Africa.
The stories from the ENABLE Youth participants are resounding.
In Uganda (the second largest producer of bananas in the world), Sam Turyatunga saw an opportunity in producing his own brand of banana juice. As a college student, Sam produced the juice in his own dormitory. Supported by AfDB, Turyatunga now produces 1,500 litres of banana juice daily and sells its product in three other countries in East Africa. His firm also supports 500 banana farmers.
At the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria, young scientists and researchers are being trained to enhance industrial innovation, competitiveness and sustainable development across the continent.
“We are integrating a youth employment component into new Bank projects, and are working closely with regional member countries to develop policies that promote youth employment,” said Adesina.
The Bank believes that harnessing the labour, energy and enterprise of young women and men is critical to driving economic growth and reducing poverty.
In line with its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, the Bank is integrating a youth employment component into the design of every operation it undertakes.
The Bank is assisting its regional member countries to develop national youth employment policies, supporting innovative work on best practices to help young people become entrepreneurs, and making investments that catalyze the private sector to increase employment opportunities.
There is a consensus that the 2017 theme on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, has the potential to have far-reaching implications that would address all the key issues that Governments have had to contend with, and change the development trajectory of Africa.
“We must create wealth and restore happiness to our nation. We can only do this when we have an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy. We must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development,” said Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.
“The good economic prospects of our country must first profit our youth, because they are our greatest strength and our greatest wealth,” said Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire.
AfDB’s leadership in this area is considered a viable example, which countries can tap into.