After more than six decades of Africa’s sustained but unfulfilled efforts in holistic development, the African Development Bank (AFDB) Group on Tuesday unveiled a new home grown agenda for the continent’s economic and infrastructure transformation.
Beyond the usual conference projections, the bank presented the bold home grown development blueprint to some African heads of state and government, development partners and stakeholders at Lusaka, Zambia, venue of ADFB 2016 annual general meeting (AGM).
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, AFDB President, presiding over his first AGM, since assuming office as the bank’s 8th President on September 1, 2015, said in addition to unveiling the banks five new priorities, that the meeting would also examine profound solutions to other concerns plaguing the continent.
The bank’s new strategies referred to as the High -5s, was designed to scale up its operational commitment in Africa’s transformation.
The strategies are energy, agriculture, industrialisation, integration of the 54 member countries and the improvement of the quality of life of the average African.
“Each of those is high on the agenda said Adesina said in Lusaka, stressing that three of the strategies is expected to provide the impetus needed in a programme toward the creation of 25 million jobs for young people over the next decade.
“All of them need to be debated and owned, as much by governments, businesses, civil society, the press, as well as Africans. The agenda is huge: We want to see nothing less than the social and economic transformation of Africa. We want to unleash massive potential – for Africa and for the world,” he stressed.
The Daily Times reports that energy, considered to be the continents Achilles’ heel, remains the central theme of the discussions at the ongoing AGM. Some diplomats and economists at the meeting in Lusaka told Daily Times ADFB focus and provision of leadership in the continents energy and climate change changes was commendable and a major mile stone in global development.
According to some participants, the topmost priorities of the High 5s showcased the bank’s commitment in tackling Africa’s severe energy deficit in the continent where about 650 million people don’t have access to electricity.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministers, representing the 54 African and 26 non-Africa member countries of ADFB will at the meeting review its 2015 operations report and approve its activities and budget for the 2016.
ADFB had in 2015 made loans and grants of 8.8 billion dollars or 25 per cent increase over the 2014 operational budgetary profile. As usual the meetings would create a platform for participants to make in-depth assessments of African countries in 2015 and provided an assistance outlay of how the bank can help member states cope with the global economic challenges, following the steep fall of commodity prices.
But in spite of the prevailing “economic headwinds”, Adesina argued that the continent in 2015 demonstrated extraordinary resilience, with growth rates of 4 per cent, one per cent higher than the global average.
Several heads of state attended the banks flagship meeting, expected to bring together some 3,000 delegates.
According to Adesina, the bank’s annual general meetings, provides an opportunity to showcase its operational work; its knowledge work; its advocacy work; and its convening power.