Henry Uche, Lagos
The Board of Governors for African Development Bank (AFDB) recently re-elected Mr Akinwumi Adesina for the second time as the president of the financial institution for another five years after being vindicated from corrupt charges levied against him. The reasons for his re-election are not far fetched, ‘one good term deserves another.’
In his inaugural speech, Adesina reiterated his five-point agenda which he launched in 2015 when he was first elected. His five-point agenda – to feed Africa, to improve the quality of life of Africans, to industrialize Africa, to integrate Africa and light up/power Africa – is apt and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Known as ‘The High 5s’, the agenda was welcomed by economic experts and industry watchers across the region. Howbeit, the readiness of Nigeria to key in to the bank’s vision and ameliorate the plight of Nigerians especially in this critical period would be fully determined by the end of 2025.
Being a Nigerian, much is expected from Mr Adesina by Nigerians because to whom much is given much is expected. In an interview with the Director General of National Association Of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ayo Olukanni said the five-point agenda of the AFDB as unveiled by Dr Adesina are priority areas which are interlinked and deserve equal attention across board, however, strategic implementation must be pursued in an integrated manner to achieve the said agenda.
The NACCIMA DG revealed that for Nigeria to gain from African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), Adesina must ensure prompt ratification and continued sensitization and education as being done by the National Action committee of the AFCFTA.
Olukanni stressed that the private sector should also do their part by educating their members on the various aspects of AFCFTA.
On the side of the government, he maintained that AFDB is already working hand in glove with some relevant private and public sector to resuscitate the economy.
‘AFDB has an office in Abuja and is working closely with relevant MDA already for the implementation of the five-point agenda. Grants, loans and special funding arrangements are already going on. SMEs would gain more essentially through the ‘Light and Power Africa agendum.’
As for cushioning the effects of the pandemic, effective and prompt implementation of the various stimulus packages would go a long way forward.
He called on economic and management experts in Nigeria to synergize with AFDB Chief to consolidate the existing 2013-2022 strategy to take Africa to an enviable height.
‘Aside this five-point agenda, other areas like quality governance and accountability, skills enhancement and technology are areas we must not lose sight of as we transit to green growth,’ he stressed.
On his part, the President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Mr Bayo Olugbemi, lauded Adesina’s vision for Africa but urged him to give top priority to, ‘Improving the quality of life for Africans and Light/ powering Africa.’
Olugbemi tasked the Federal Government to throw its full weight behind Adesina to achieve these vision by support him in all ways possible including entering into partnerships and joint ventures with AfDB that will not only be beneficial to Nigeria but her immediate neighbours.
He beckoned on AFDB boss to advise Nigeria government to honor the letters of the AFCFTA agreement signed and show leadership in the affairs of Africa in general and AFCFTA in particular.
‘As bankers, we are known for ethics and professionalism. Mr Adesina should uphold that as he did during his first term which gave him victory despite all odds and American’s plan to block him.
‘African banks should be encouraged to invest more or finance more productive ventures and the real sectors of the various economies. He is now a citizen of Africa. He should work harder with those who know their onions to see as many economies as possible in Africa resuscitated.
‘I am sure his first tenure was eventful and impactful on many sectors of the economy of African nations and Nigeria also benefitted immensely. I am sure he will even do more as AfDB under him has a better capital base than when he took over.
‘On cushioning the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr Adesina and the AfDB has done a lot since the outbreak and now that he has been inaugurated for a 2nd term, I am sure he will not rest on his oars, because it’s not yet uhuru. AfFB President is a very focused and determined executive. He will surpass his own record by the grace of God. I wish him a successful and impactful second term in office.
‘Leaders of African nations should look inward and depend less on imported goods and services. They should be more concerned about stimulating our economies than caring for their own self interest. And this should be at all levels from LGA to the Federal Government. Sincerity of purpose and reduction or elimination of corruption and corruption tendencies should be the cardinal focus of our leaders and the led,’ he maintained.