- As African Leaders Reimpose Confidence In Adesina’s Leadership
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Tuesday, unveiled his vision for Africa’s growth and development in the next five years of his second term, promising to conquer new grounds for the bank.
He delivered his inaugural address after being sworn-in as AfDB President for the second time. The event monitored by The New Diplomat held virtually, and was witnessed by leaders across the continent.
Adesina who was re-elected unanimously by the bank’s board of Governors on August 27, after overcoming initial opposition running into his re-election, said his administration will focus on building institutions, systems and people to drive a sustainable future for Africans.
The former Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture did not shy away from how the Covid-19 pandemic has left African economy bleeding, but raised new hope that the pandemic has also come with its own opportunities and the sense of urgency to “smartly” rebuild Africa.
Adesina promised to give more support to ensure that the continent’s infrastructure gap is reduced by providing quality growth.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything globally; it has thrown Africa’s growth back. The continent has lost gains and economic growth that were achieved over the last decade.
“Africa’s recovery will therefore be long and challenging. Now we must help Africa build back boldly but smartly, paying greater attention to quality growth, especially in the areas of health, climate, and the environment.
“As we look into the future, working with the board of Directors, the bank will pay increased attention to supporting Africa with quality healthcare infrastructure and building on its comparative advantage in infrastructure. The bank’s infrastructure work will focus on economic infrastructure, quality physical infrastructure in health,” he added.
Adesina said the bank will devote special attention to the promotion of manufacturing, self-sufficiency, industrialization across critical sectors, providing the needed ingredients and value-chain that would further boost the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“Covid-19 also opens up new opportunities and a greater sense of urgency to build Africa’s manufacturing capacity, industrial development, and critically-needed industrial value-chains that must be supported by enabling infrastructure and policies.
“Special attention will be given to regional industrial value chains and strengthening of financial markets in order to expand the intraregional trade and competitiveness and to boost Africa Continental Free Trade Area.”
He maintained that the continent still faces a lot of challenges and it is crucial that all the necessary support is received to bridge the gaps caused by the challenges.
“Your Excellency, let there be no doubt the challenges ahead are still many including poverty, inequality, fragility, high youth unemployment, significant infrastructure financing gaps, and sustainable debt management.
“As we look into the future, let me assure you, the bank will play a greater role in policy dialogue with Countries. We will support sustainable debt management, boost green growth, and accelerate the provision of jobs for youth on our beloved continent,” Adesina said.
Speakers at the virtual swearing-in include President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President George Weah of Liberia and President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló among a host of other leaders on the continent.
According to President Kagame “Dr. Adesina has led the bank with integrity and purpose over the past 5 years. The next five years promise to be even more noteworthy. Know that you have our full support.”
On his own part, President of Guinea Bissau, Embaló, stated that “having an election with 100% of votes is something that could serve as a roadmap for you to forge ahead in your mission. I wish to congratulate you and your family and the African Development Bank team.”
Congratulating Adesina, Liberian President, Weah stated that “Your reelection signifies Africa and the world’s confidence in your leadership. Liberia looks forward to continued partnership under your leadership. All the best my brother, and congratulations.”