AfDB meetings end with call to unlock Africa's economic potential

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26 May 2017

African Development Bank's (AfDB) annual meetings in Gandhinagar ended on Thursday with a call to unlock the continent's economic potential through a major transformation in the fields of energy, agriculture, connectivity, industrialisation and healthcare.

Addressing a press conference at the end of the bank's annual meetings, the president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina,expressed the hope that the meeting would substantially contribute to the AFDB'S new transformation agenda encapsulated in the High 5s – related to the fields of power, food security, transportation, skill development and health.

The AfDB meetings discussed ways to exploit the huge agriculture potential of Africa for overall development of the continent.

"Throughout the event, discussions were focused on ways to make agriculture lucrative, encouraging young people and women for transforming agriculture, promoting private sector investments and also cementing ties with India," Adesina said while addressing the concluding press conference on Thursday.

Adesina, who has been pitching for agriculture to be taken up as business, firmly believed that it would create jobs, reduce food import bills and help Africa emerge as an important player in global economy.

Attracting private sector investments was also a key subject of the event, which began on May 22. "The future of Africa also depends on what we do with the private sector, which is seen as the growth engine of Africa," AfDB president added. Apart from de-risking private sector and improve business as well as regulatory environment, AfDB has decided to dramatically increase investments in private sector activities.

Adesina said that Africa could partner and learn from India in areas such as harnessing solar energy, technological innovations in agriculture and financial inclusion. "We saw a lot of technology and innovation across India. And, Africa stands to benefit a lot by partnering with India in this space," he added.

Adesina also said that he is happy that the Prime Minster Narendra Modi had mentioned of India and Japan considering the Asia Africa Growth Corridor and he is now more confident that all this should contribute to greater development in Africa.

The annual meet, which was opened by prime minister Narendra Modi on May 23, saw Indian policy makers promising greater engagement of India into overall development of the African continent. PM Modi underscored that Africa has been made a top priority for India's foreign and economic policy ever since he assumed office in 2014.

He said the AfDB is looking forward to scaling-up of technologies and for investments in future technologies for skilling African youth. He said that he also expects youth in Africa to more actively participate in agricultural activities to fight poverty in Africa. The president of the AfDB said that he even sees possibilities of bollywood films contributing to encourage African youth towards agriculture.

The meetings, organised for the first time in India,  extensively deliberated on agriculture, food security, energy and trade and investments as well as deepening relations with India. The next annual meetings will take place in Busan, a port city in South Korea next year.





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