Africa has potential to be biggest economic hub- AfDB

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB).

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB) says, Africa has the potential of becoming the biggest economic hub with the right policies and investments.

Adesina made the assertion at the Inspiration Conference 2020 of the Redeemer’s Men Fellowship (Lagos Regions) in Lagos, South-West Nigeria.

The conference had as its theme: “Galvanized for Geometric Growth”.

Adesina said Africa was where the growth was rising fastest in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and economic growth in the world:

“Last year, 17 countries grew an average of five percent, 20 countries grew at five percent and above.

“Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa last year grew by more than 11 percent, while that of Asia was about 4.5 percent and FDI for developed countries declined by 23 percent.”  

Adesina said the population of Africa was at 1.2 billion in 2019, which could be harnessed properly to achieve geometric growth for economic development.

“Nearly 90 percent of Africa-based companies and 58 percent of those based in other regions expect their revenues in Africa to grow over the next five years, and most importantly to expand their African footprints in additional countries.

“This is the continent you are living in. The size of consumer businesses will rise $5.6 trillion in the next five years.

“The size of the food and agricultural market in Africa will rise to $1trillion just in the next ten years.

“Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is worth a whopping $3.6 trillion. That is the largest Free Trade Zone in the world since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“Welcome to the new Africa,”  he said.

The AfDB president said the opportunities available in Africa were responsible for the surge in summits such as UK-Africa summit, Japan-Africa Summit, Russia-Africa summit, China-Africa summit to mention a few.

“They are seeing an Africa that will soon become the size of China and India combined.

“When China woke up, the world changed. When Africa finally wakes up, it will be the biggest economic miracle we have ever seen,”  he said.

He said the AfDB had been supporting the growth of African countries, disclosing that a $500 million facility would soon be released to Nigeria for ICT and start-up companies.

Adesina urged the government to find solution to the issue of unemployment in the country as Nigerian youths were the future of the nation’s prosperity.

He also advised the congregants to shift focus from the challenges of their environment to the cloud of opportunities which abound in the African region.

“Geometric success is when you move from import to domestic production and billionaires are expected to come from the agricultural sector and not oil and gas,” he said.

In his welcome address, the National Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Joseph Obayemi, said the conference was set up as an economic enabler to enable men have the requisite knowledge and insights.

“Growth is an essential element; and a geometric growth brings about a progression and an upsurge …and the sure way for this type of growth is through the word of God,”  he said.

Amaka E. Nliam