The African Development Bank and its East and North African governors have stressed the need for urgent measures to match the continent’s growing population and youth unemployment, which they likened to a “ticking time bomb”.
“The good news is that the solution is within our reach and will require investments,” said Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank.
At the end of a two-day consultation at the headquarters of the Bank in Abidjan, CÕte d’Ivoire, the bank and the governors discussed strategies for closing Africa’s $170-billion infrastructure investment gap.
To bridge the investment gap, ensure inclusive growth, and create employment for the continent’s population, the meeting endorsed the African Development Bank-led African Investment Forum and described it as a timely opportunity to catalyse investments into projects and attract social impact financing to Africa.
Tanzania’s minister for finance and planning, Isdor Mpango, called for closer involvement of the private sector in financing development on the continent.
“The African Development Bank is well positioned to advise and assist Governments and the private sector to come up with bankable projects,” Mpango says, calling for direct resources to provide budget support and investment opportunities.”
Through the African Investment Forum, scheduled for 7 to 9 November in Johannesburg, the bank and its partners intend to showcase bankable projects, attract financing, and provide platforms for investing across Africa. The forum will bring together the African Development Bank and other global multilateral financial institutions to de-risk investments at scale.
“A uniqueness of the African Investment Forum is that there will be no speeches. The only speeches will be transactions,” says President Adesina.
Rwanda’s minister of finance and economic planning, Claver Gatet, says: “The African Development Bank has already discussed the concept of the African Investment Forum with us. The Rwandan Government takes this Forum very seriously.”
“Jobs will come from industrialisation. The new approach using the African Investment Forum to de-risk the sector and attract investors is the way to go,” says Kiplagat Rotich, Kenyan finance minister.
Thirteen percent of the world’s population is estimated to live in sub-Saharan Africa today. That number is projected to more than double by 2050. Four billion (or 36% of the world’s population) could live in the region by 2100, according to the UN Population Division. Africa is projected to have over 840-million youth by 2050, with the continent having the youngest population on earth.
According to Adesina, “We have 12 years left to the SDGs. It is an alarm bell because if Africa does not achieve the SDGs, the world won’t achieve them. The African Development Bank is accelerating development across Africa through the High 5s. We are deepening our reforms. We deepened our disbursements to the highest levels ever last year and we are leveraging more resources for Afri