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AfDB prioritises infrastructure devt., financial sustainability, others as 5yrs focus

By Ibe Wada,

President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has been sworn-in for the second term of five years in office, with a pledged to focus on infrastructural development, financial stability stronger institutions among others on the African continent.

The swearing-in ceremony and oath-taking held virtually and broadcasted online on Tuesday with the Chairperson of the AfDB board of Governors and Ghana’s Finance Minister, Kenneth Ofori-Attah, administering the oath of office.

The event was attended by Heads of States, Governors, and over 200 external stakeholders who joined physically and virtually.

Dr. Adesina, who was Nigeria’s former minister of agriculture and rural development, was re-elected last week to serve a second five-year term, after votes from all governors, regional and non-regional members of the bank.

In his inaugural address, Adesina said despite the adverse effect of coronavirus on the continent, he was ready to deploy his leadership skills, alongside that of his team to ensure post coronavirus economic expansion.

He stressed that he would through the bank expand partnership and pay increased attention to supporting Africa with quality healthcare infrastructure and building on its comparative advantage to reposition the continent, adding that he would focus on 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 said.

The former minister also noted that coronavirus had opened up floodgates of opportunities for the continent’s industrialization drive and that the bank would ensure the opportunity was explored for the benefit of Africans.

“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.

“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 added.

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