Updated: March 6, 2021
Those who see Africa as an ocean of despair and a vast, sad land of catastrophe should wake up, sit and read. There are floods of good news coming from the continent.
First, according to the African Development Bank’s 2019 African Economic Outlook, Africa’s impressive economic growth is expected to be maintained at 4% in 2019, and 4.1% in 2020, with 40% of African countries projected to see even higher growth rates.
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But that is not all. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area would also make Africa the largest free trade zone in the world, with an estimated combined GDP of over $3.3 trillion.
“There is no better time to invest in Africa than now,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank thundered at the World Peace Summit of Global Leaders in Seoul, according to a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.
With an eye on a “future that is just around the corner,” Adesina announced that the bank was working to set up a joint Korea-Africa Tech Corps program designed to bring young and talented tech entrepreneurs in Korea and Africa into wealth creating partnerships, and position Africa to be part of the mainstream of “the 4th Industrial Revolution.”
But all these achievements would not be possible in a continent where corruption remains a big problem. The only way forward is to improve transparency, governance and accountability, because “corruption does not invest in the future, it kills the future,” Adesina argued.
According to the World Economic Forum, an estimated $116 billion a year would be required to feed the world and end hunger. It would also take $8.5 billion a year to eliminate malaria.
“That’s only 0.28% of what’s lost to corruption globally every year,” said Adesina. “It would take $26 billion per year to send all kids in the world to school. The International Atomic Agency estimates that $31 billion per year would provide energy for all in the world. That’s just 1% of what’s lost annually to corruption globally,” he added.
The Busan Techno Park, the Busan Metropolitan City, the African Development Bank and the Government of Tunisia, are currently collaborating on a pilot Agricultural Drone project to help assess and monitor soil degradation, and provide real time data to improve productivity. The Bank intends to scale up the project across Africa, and develop other cutting edge uses of industrial drones across the continent.
With a backdrop of an improving regional economy and a move toward creating a new generation of jobs for young Africans, Adesina says, “Today, millions of unemployed young Africans have no jobs and many take enormous risks to cross the Mediterranean to seek a brighter future in Europe. The fact is, there’s no pride in seeing thousands of young men and women drown in the turbulent waters of the Mediterranean. The future of Africa’s youth doesn’t lie in Europe. The future of our youth must lie in a thriving, prosperous and secure Africa.”
At the Peace Summit for Global Leaders, the President of the African Development Bank highlighted key achievements in 2018, including, 5 million people with new or improved electricity connections; 19 million people who have benefitted from improved agricultural technologies; 1.1 million people who have benefitted from private sector investment projects; 14 million people who received access to better transport services and 8 million with improved access to water and sanitation.
Adesina said the Bank could do more with the support of its 80-member countries who are currently discussing options for the institution’s general capital increase.
“With a General Capital Increase scenario, if approved by the Bank’s shareholders, we would provide an additional 105 million people with access to electricity,137 million people with access to improvements in agriculture, 22 million people who would benefit from private sector investment projects,151 million people with improved access to transport, and 110 million people with improved water and sanitation.”
Adesina urged the Bank’s shareholders to make generous contributions in order to maintain momentum, create jobs for millions of African youth, position Africa in global value chains, and accelerate the African Union’s push towards Agenda 2063, “The Africa we want.”