African Development Bank president highlights continent’s potential

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, delivered a stirring speech at Chatham House, London, England, highlighting Africa’s potential and opportunities. Addressing a diverse audience including diplomats, investors, academics, and media, he underscored Africa’s youthful workforce, renewable energy potential, biodiversity resources, and regional integration.

Despite global challenges, Adesina emphasized Africa’s economic resilience, citing the continent’s 3.7% growth in 2024, expected to rise to 4.3% in 2025. He noted that 15 countries achieved growth rates of at least 5%, with half of the world’s fastest-growing economies in Africa.To realize Africa’s economic prospects, Adesina advocated for structural changes, including enhancing agriculture productivity, expanding infrastructure, promoting digitalization, empowering women and youth, and driving industrialization.

Adesina highlighted successful initiatives like the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program, benefiting 13 million farmers, and Ethiopia’s self-sufficiency in wheat production. He stressed the importance of infrastructure and agricultural development in unlocking Africa’s potential.The event, attended by diplomats from 18 African countries and international stakeholders, addressed challenges such as youth unemployment and debt vulnerability.

Adesina dispelled misconceptions about Africa’s investment risk, citing a low infrastructure loan default rate and advocating for an independent African credit rating agency.Adesina announced the African Development Bank’s $117 billion callable capital increase, aimed at preserving its AAA credit rating and enhancing lending capacity.

He highlighted the bank’s achievements, including sustainable hybrid capital issuance and the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa.Projects like the Desert-to-Power initiative and efforts to connect millions to electricity by 2030 demonstrate the bank’s commitment to sustainable development. Adesina emphasized the bank’s role in mobilizing private sector investments, supporting projects like LNG in Mozambique and the Dangote Refinery Complex.

The bank’s ten-year strategy (2024-2033) envisions a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient Africa. Adesina emphasized Africa’s pivotal role in the global energy transition and its potential to contribute to renewable energy and biodiversity conservation.Adesina highlighted the bank’s focus on youth and women empowerment, with initiatives like AFAWA and the Africa Investment Forum attracting over $180 billion in investor interests since 2018.In conclusion,

Adesina expressed optimism about Africa’s future, emphasizing its critical role in global development. He affirmed Africa’s potential to emerge as a pivotal continent and achieve prosperity.