Adesina assumes office as eighth AfDB president

Akinwumi-AdesinaBuhari commends ex-Agric minister 

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday congratulated former Agriculture Minister, Akinwumi Adesina, who formally assumed office as the eighth elected President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Adesina has the agenda to address development issues limiting growth of the continent. At a ceremony in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Akinwunmi took the oath of office administered by Zambia’s Finance Minister and Chair of the Board of Governors, Alexander Chikwanda, according to a statement.

I, Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, solemnly declare and undertake that I will abide by the provisions of … the … Bank, and discharge my duties … with loyalty, discretion and conscience.  So help me God,” he swore, to sustained applause by the large audience. “Growth has to be shared.

The sparkle in the eyes of the fortunate few is drowned by the sense of exclusion by the majority. Hundreds of millions of people are left behind.

Africa can no longer be content with simply managing poverty. For our future and the future of our children, we must eliminate it. “We must integrate Africa”, he said. “Grow together, develop together.

Our collective destiny is tied to breaking down the barriers separating us. “We will build stronger partnerships for impact – from the private sector, civil society and academic institutions, multilateral and bilateral development agencies.

We will advance Africa’s priorities, as envisaged by the Founding Fathers of the Bank. We will be a strong voice for Africa, positioning and building support for Africa in the global environment.” “We must light up and power Africa”, he said. “Energy is the engine that powers economies.”

He promised that the Bank will launch a new deal on energy for Africa, saying: “Africa is blessed with limitless potential for solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal energy resources.

We must unlock Africa’s energy potential – both conventional and renewable.” He also stressed the need to develop the private sector to drive the industrialization of the continent, create employment for the young, empower the rural population and women, and lift millions out of poverty.

Adesina made it clear that “Africa must feed itself,” stating that it was inconceivable that a continent with abundant arable land, water, diverse agro-ecological richness and sunshine should be a net food-importing region.

Africa has 65% of all the arable land left in the world, which can help meet the food needs of 9 billion people on the planet by 2050. This is a huge untapped potential, “but Africa cannot eat potential”.

He laid down five priorities that will drive the Bank’s work as it implements its current 2013-2022 Strategy: “Light up and Power Africa. Feed Africa.

Integrate Africa. Industrialize Africa. Improve quality of life for the people of Africa.” He ended with a call to action: “Let us rededicate ourselves to a greater Africa.

An Africa with prosperous, sustainable and inclusive growth – one that is peaceful, secure and united, regionally integrated and globally competitive.

A continent filled with hope, opportunities, liberties and freedom, with shared prosperity for all. An Africa that is open to the world, one that Africans are proud to call home.”

Nigeria’s Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, expressed the need for Africans to consider other paradigms for Africa development, and to focus on good governance, climate change and the empowerment of women. Alassane Ouattara, President of Cote d’Ivoire, reminded the audience that the African continent currently faces multiple challenges including security, market volatility, and youth unemployment.

He said he was convinced that Adesina would be able to tackle these challenges, given his experience and proven leadership. Among those who attended the ceremony were Cape Verde’s former President Pedro Pires, Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, former Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as well as a large delegation of governors, legislators and business-people from Nigeria. Minister Chikwanda had called the occasion “a historic changing of the guard for the African Development Bank, the pride of Africa.”

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