Post-COVID: Africa Must Focus On Quality Growth, Stronger AfDB- Adesina

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, on Wednesday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, opened its 2020 Annual Meetings, with Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, its President/Chief Executive, urging governments across the continents to focus greater attention on emerging from the devastating effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This, according to Adesina who is offering himself for a second and final five-year term at tomorrow’s election where he is unchallenged, is because the virus has cost Africa over a decade of gains of economic growth.

On the outlook, he warned that “Africa’s recovery will be long and difficult,” stressing the need to help the continent rebuild in a bold but smart manner.

He called for greater attention “to quality growth” in such areas as health, climate and the environment, which is not impossible, especially given the successful launching of a $10bn COVID-19 Response Facility to support African countries.

In the wake of the pandemic, he recalled that the group “launched a $3 billion social bond on the global market – the largest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history.”

These, he continued, reflect the AfDB’s ambition, “unshaken commitment and unyielding responsibility to support, stabilize and strengthen African economies.” 

While the group goes about stabilizing nations of the continent, it also needs to be stabilized as an institution, recalling the challenges the bank faced in recent months from which it pulled through, guided by the governors, under the leadership of the Chairperson, Madame Niale Kaba.

“Africa needs a strong and stable African Development Bank to support it through this pandemic and help its economies rebound for better, healthier lives and livelihoods for its people. And the African Development Bank needs you — our shareholders — as you always have been: united and strong,” Adesina stressed.

 Expressed pride in the governance systems of the AfDB and the shareholders who challenged his team to do better, resulting in invaluable experience that “has made us better and stronger.”

Indeed, he assured further, “our challenges, though difficult, have become our gain,” even as he promised to “reach out… engage…

Within the first five years under his leadership, he reported that the group has greatly impacted the continent, working for its progress, by ensuring “18m people now have access to electricity; 141m people have benefitted from improved agricultural technologies for food security. 15 million people have access to finance. 101 million people have access to improved transport. And 60 million people have gained access to water and sanitation.” 

He noted the resolve of his team, “now more than ever, to help Africa rebound; and to get back on a stronger pathway of economic growth and resilience.”

“And together, we must also go forward, reaching for what lies before us to help fast track Africa’s development — building on our collective achievements, strengthening weaknesses, and deepening our impacts,” he added.