Adesina promises to do more for Africans in second term as AfDB president

Dr Akinwumi Adesina was on Tuesday sworn in for a second term of five years as the president of African Development Bank (AfDB) with a promise to make the bank stronger to deliver greater quality impacts for the people of Africa.

Stating his focus for the next five years, Adesina 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 youth must stay in Africa, develop Africa, and project Africa’s future.

“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.”

The swearing-in ceremony, which took place at the AfDB’s Abidjan headquarters was presided over by newly appointed Chair of the Board of Governors, Ghanaian Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta, who administered the Oath Office.

Adesina’s inauguration was sequel to his election by the AfDB’s Governors of the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries on August 27, 2020.

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

The AfDB board chairman was assisted by the past Board of Governors Chair, Ivorian Planning Minister Niale Kaba, and the Bank’s Secretary-General Vincent Nmehielle who read the resolution of the Board confirming Adesina’s election.

Ofori-Atta said he had no doubt that Africa’s premier development bank had secured the right leadership.

“We need to continue to steer and direct the bank’s efforts to set global standards of excellence, integrity, commitment to service and responsiveness to the challenges of the continent,” he said.

“You earned a new mandate in a most historic fashion,” he told Adesina.

Adesina’s first five-year term in office focused on a new agenda for the AfDB Group based on five development priorities known as the High 5s: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

Giving a performance report on the agenda, he said, “Over the past five years, the bank has delivered impressive results on these High 5s: 18 million people with access to electricity, 141 million people had access to improved agricultural technologies for food security, 15 million people with access to finance from private investments, 101 million people with access to improved transport from infrastructure and 60 million people with access to water and sanitation.

“We’ve achieved impressive results. The AfDB’s High5 programmes have impacted 335 million people. That’s what the African Development Bank – your Bank – is all about … ‘people impact’.

Calling for the cooperation of all stakeholders, he said, “Let us move forward, driven by the power of our mission, inspired by the primacy of our vision and emboldened by the strength of our togetherness.”

Representatives of the Nigerian and Côte d’Ivoire governments as well as AfDB’s executive directors and senior management also attended the ceremony.

 

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