Despite the economic challenges confronting the African continent; occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has expressed confidence over the speedy recovery of the continent’s economy in the coming years.
Speaking at a virtual event held recently in his honour as the outgoing African of the Year of African Leadership Magazine, Adesina revealed that fair access to COVID-19 vaccines as well as debt relief would help boost Africa’s pathway towards full economic recovery.
According to him: “There is light at the end of the tunnel – it just happens to be a very long tunnel. I am very positive that African economies will bounce back over the next two years, but the speed of recovery will depend on ensuring that Africa gets enough vaccines for its population.
“To recover faster, Africa will need significant debt forgiveness from bilateral and official creditors,” – he added.
The AFDB President also noted that while developed countries have been spending trillions of dollars for fiscal stimulus, Africa does not have such resources as the payment for vaccines is already adding to the already high debt burden.
Adesina, therefore, promised that the African Development Bank, in collaboration with its partners, would continue to lead Africa’s recovery and development after the pandemic, with a focus on youth, women, and healthcare.
“Together, we will create new opportunities for African youth and trigger a youth-based wealth system for Africa. Together, we will ensure that we deliver financing for African women,” he noted.
In his remark, Mr. Ken Giame, Chairman, African Leadership Magazine (ALM) said that the African Development Bank had scored some outstanding achievements in 2020 under President Adesina and this had “infected” Africa with optimism.
“ALM feels very proud of the President’s contribution as he has raised the performance bar for future African of the Year winners. Indeed, his award was a call for greater service to the people, especially at a time when Africa needed true leadership,”- he said.
The key highlight of the event was Dr. Adesina’s induction into the magazine’s African Leadership Hall of Fame for “raising the performance bar” in Africa.
African leaders who have previously won the African Leadership Magazine African of the Year award include former Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2011); Sudanese businessman Mo Ibrahim (2012); former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar (2013); former President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete (2014); Tanzanian businessman and philanthropist Mo Dewji (2016); and President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame (2017).