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Resource-rich Africa has no excuse to remain poor says Adesina

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With USD6.2-trillion worth of natural resources, 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, and a vibrant youth, Africa has no excuse to be poor, says African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

Resource-rich Africa has no excuse to remain poor says Adesina

With USD6.2-trillion worth of natural resources, 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, and a vibrant youth, Africa has no excuse to be poor, says African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina.  

Adesina says that the continent needs to solve its many challenges and urged citizens to hold governments accountable for poverty.

Adesina was in Lagos, Nigeria yesterday where he delivered a lecture to mark the 40th anniversary of The Guardian, Nigeria’s foremost independent newspaper. The lecture was held under the theme, For the World to Respect Africa.

Adesina, who won The Guardian’s ‘Man of the Year’ Award in 2021, says that Africa should not be where it is today.

“Africa’s resource-rich nations have to strengthen good governance, transparency, accountability, and sound management policies to turn things around,” says Adesina.

“If we manage our natural resources well, Africa has no reason to be poor. We have USD6.2-trillion in natural resources. So how in the world are we still poor?” he asks.

“We simply need to pull up our socks, stamp out corruption, and manage our resources in the interest of our countries and our people.”

Mismanaging natural resources (Resource-rich Africa has no excuse to remain poor says Adesina)

“Saudi Arabia has oil, as does Nigeria. Kuwait has oil, as does Nigeria. Qatar has abundant gas, as does Nigeria and other countries. Yet, Nigeria is the country with the largest share of its population living below the extreme poverty line in 2023 in Africa. Clearly, there is something fundamentally wrong in our management, or rather mismanagement, of our natural resources,” Adesina says.

South Korea, for example, raised its GDP per capita from USD350 in the 1960s to approximately USD33,000 by 2023.

According to Adesina that is the kind of quantum leap that Africa needs.

“We must ask ourselves: when will we make the shift that South Korea made, from being a country that was once on the low end of the development ladder to the rich, industrialised nation that it is today?

Despite the many challenges, Adesina says he remains optimistic about Nigeria. “I am optimistic about Africa. I believe in Africa,” he says.

“Africa needs the right policies, investments, infrastructure, logistics, and financing…We must make sure that this is driven by a highly skilled, dynamic, and youthful workforce,” he says.

The world’s breadbasket (Resource-rich Africa has no excuse to remain poor says Adesina)

Africa could play a leading role in resolving not only its own challenges but global ones.

“While we must deal with bread-and-butter development issues, we must think strategically as we set ourselves on a path to becoming wealthy nations. Our countries must become great contributors to global wealth and development financing for others.”

The African Development Bank has invested about USD8-billion in agriculture over the past seven years, improving food security for 250 million people across the continent. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted wheat and maize supplies to Africa, the Bank rapidly approved a USd1.5-billion emergency food production facility for countries across the continent.

“Today, this facility is supporting 20 million farmers in 36 countries to produce 38 million tonnes of food valued at USD12-billion. This is eight million tonnes above the 30 million tonnes of food Africa was importing from Russia and Ukraine,” says Adesina.

“But even as we do this, we must do more than simply producing more food and agricultural commodities,” Adesina adds. “The export of raw commodities is the door to poverty. The export of value-added products is the highway to wealth.”

The African Development Bank and its partners have provided USD1.6-billion to develop 25 Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones to support private sector processing and add value to commodities across 15 countries.

With partners, the Bank this month launched a USD3-billion Alliance for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones to support the development of these zones in 11 more countries.

Ahead of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference starting today in Dubai, Adesina says the African Development Bank will amplify Africa’s calls for climate justice and greater investment in climate action, including adaptation.

The Bank has launched a USD1-billion Africa Climate Risk Insurance Facility for Adaptation to scale up climate risk insurance for African countries.

Resource-rich Africa has no excuse to remain poor says Adesina

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Resource-rich Africa has no excuse to remain poor says Adesina

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