President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina has promised to give more support to ensure that the continent’s infrastructure gap is reduced by providing quality growth.
Dr Adesina, during his inaugural address after being sworn-in as AfDB President on Tuesday, pledged to expand partnership and tilt more attention to Africa.
The AfDB President, who was re-elected unanimously by the bank’s board of Governors to serve a second five-year term on August 27, said his administration will focus on the institution, people, delivery, and sustainability.
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.
Dr Adesina also stated that the new opportunities provided by the pandemic will see additional growth trajectory in Africa’s industrialisation drive, alongside 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.
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,” he stressed.
Dr Adesina maintained that with the bank’s focus on youth development, the shadows of youth unemployment and migration out of Africa will be a thing of the past.
The bank’s chief said that efforts are ongoing to deliver more for women on the continent, with the implementation of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA), to leverage the $3 billion for women and women businesses.