AKINWUNMI Adesina, President, African Development Bank Group, AfDB, has called on African leaders to take up the challenge of lifting Africans out of poverty and into wealth as quickly as possible.
He explained that Africa with $6.2 trillion worth of natural resources, 65 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, and a vibrant youth population, Africa has no excuse to be poor,
Adesina made the call in Lagos while delivering the 40th anniversary lecture of The Guardian newspaper.
Speaking on the theme, “For the World to Respect Africa”, he explained that Africa’s growth is possible if the people hold the governments accountable.
According to him, Africa should not be where it is today and urged its resource-rich nations to strengthen good governance, transparency, accountability, and sound management policies to turn things around.
“If we manage our natural resources well, Africa has no reason to be poor. We have $6.2 trillion in natural resources,” he said. “So how in the world are we still poor? We simply need to pull up our socks, stamp out corruption and manage our resources in the interest of our countries and our people,” Adesina said.
He added that “Saudi Arabia has oil, as does Nigeria. Kuwait has oil, as does Nigeria. Qatar has abundant gas, as does Nigeria and other countries. Yet, Nigeria is the country with the largest share of its population living below the extreme poverty line in 2023 in Africa. Clearly, there is something fundamentally wrong in our management, or rather mismanagement, of our natural resources.”
As an example, the Bank President cited South Korea, which raised its GDP per capita from $350 in the 1960s to approximately $33,000 by 2023. “That is the kind of quantum leap that we need,” Adesina said. “We must ask ourselves, when will we make the shift that South Korea made, from being a country that was once on the low end of the development ladder to the rich, industrialised nation that it is today.”
“I am optimistic about Nigeria. I am optimistic about Africa. I believe in Africa,” he added.
Adesina said: “Africa needs the right policies, investments, infrastructure, logistics, and financing…We must make sure that this is driven by a highly skilled, dynamic, and youthful workforce,” he told the audience of ministers and other senior government officials, former state governors, business leaders, academics, and the media at The Guardian event,” he said
The AfDB President also disclosed that Africa could play a leading role in resolving global challenges if it can fix its own.
He therefore called on the continent to look inward urgently to solve its many challenges.
He said: “While we must deal with bread-and-butter development issues, we must think strategically as we set ourselves on a path to becoming wealthy nations. Our countries must become great contributors to global wealth and development financing for others.”
He highlighted some of the AfDB’s interventions to drive inclusive development in Africa, including boosting food security with about $8 billion already invested in agriculture over the past seven years, improving food security for 250 million people across the continent.
“In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted wheat and maize supplies to Africa, the Bank rapidly approved a $1.5 billion emergency food production facility for countries across the continent.
“Today, this facility is supporting 20 million farmers in 36 countries to produce 38 million tonnes of food valued at $12 billion. This is 8 million tonnes above the 30 million tonnes of food Africa was importing from Russia and Ukraine,” Adesina said.
“But even as we do this, we must do more than simply producing more food and agricultural commodities,” Adesina added.
-Nov. 30, 2023 @ 18:13 GMT |Tags: AfDB Akinwumi Adesina