Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has revealed plans to set up a youth entrepreneurship investment bank for young Africans.
Adesina stated this on Monday in a zoom meeting where he was honoured as the outgoing holder of the African Leadership Magazine’s African of the Year Award.
The AfDB President said he did not believe in ‘empowerment of youths’ as he sees youths as assets that can advance fintech and digital economy in Africa.
He said, “Today in Africa, I don’t think we are doing enough for Africans. One-third of the population is between the age of 15 and 35. Sixty per cent of the population is below 25.
“We must invest in the youth now and, I don’t like the word ‘empowerment of the youth’. It doesn’t mean anything to me. The youth needs investment to unlock their skills; they don’t need handouts.”
He added, “How we invest in them will determine Africa’s future. They are talented; many of them have gone to school. Unfortunately, they face issues like unemployment. I see the youths as assets and I have said that the bank will put its resources to unlock a new type of financial ecosystem around Africa’s youth.
“I see them developing fintech industries, digital economy across the continent but they need financing. We will launch youth entrepreneurship investment banks; they will be specialised banks for the youths.”
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, who also talked at the event solicited investments in the state, stating that the pandemic really affected his tenure.
He said, “We came into a COVID-19 world. I say this because we assumed office on February 14 2020. As soon as I came into office, not quite a month, the COVID-19 started. We appeared to have lost about a year to COVID-19 and other unidentified issues.”
The Governor requested for investments in the oil, gas and agricultural sectors of the state, emphasizing the worth the investments would generate to the sub-region.