The newly elected President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Akinwunmi Adesina, has pledged to help build stronger economies across Africa, capable of delivering quality jobs for millions of youth and women in order to revive and lift the continent’s rural economies out of poverty, and ensure regional integration and prosperity.
Mr. Adesina, Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Thursday emerged the 8th President of the AfDB at the end of an election conducted by the Board of the Bank during its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
In a statement at the weekend in appreciation of his election, the new president acknowledged the challenge of being entrusted the responsibility of leading the Bank at this time, adding that the election campaigns afforded him the chance to meet and exchange ideas and hopes with people for the continent’s inclusive economic growth.
“I am thankful to have been given the chance to travel to so many parts of the continent – small states, fragile states, burgeoning cities and large states across Africa – to feel the pulse of African leaders and peoples,” he said.
Mr. Adesina, who described the continent’s people as its greatest assets, including small- and medium-sized enterprises and business leaders, said he saw vast opportunities to build a greater and more inclusive Africa.
“Together, we can build a stronger and more prosperous Africa, with smart infrastructure, energy for all, a strong private sector, new economic opportunities that will deliver quality jobs and hope for millions of youths and women, revival of Africa’s rural economies to lift many out of poverty, and regional integration for shared prosperity,” Mr. Adesina said.
While thanking AfDB shareholders from African and non-African countries for their support, he was also grateful to his opponents in the race for the top job, describing them as great assets to Africa.
He reserved a special appreciation to the immediate past Nigerian leader, Goodluck Jonathan, for nominating him, and the newly inaugurated President, Muhammadu Buhari, for his strong endorsement, as well as the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for her support and encouragement.
He also expressed appreciation to other Nigerian leaders, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and his colleague, Yakubu Gowon, former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who worked to build support behind his candidacy among African leaders.