Akufo-Addo, Adesina and others chart a new path to Africa’s economic freedom – Nigeria – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

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Call for an expanded AfDB role to address regional challenges

Prominent African leaders took turns reviewing the continent’s development agenda yesterday, admitting the future is in jeopardy unless it takes charge and charts a new course.

Leaders include the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; his Tanzanian and Mozambican counterparts, Samia Hassan and Filipe Nyusi; the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente; President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina; Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat and Chairperson of the AfDB Board of Governors/Minister of Finance of Ghana, Kenneth Afori-Atta.

They warned that there was no better time to take proactive measures and secure the much-desired economic freedom, noting that Africans could only turn to Western countries for help at their own risk. and perils.

They spoke at the opening ceremony of the AfDB’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Accra, Ghana, focusing on the most troubling challenges facing Africa. faces: adaptation to climate change, the just energy transition and the food crisis.

After the opening ceremony, the leaders dissolved into a presidential dialogue where they discussed at length the overwhelming challenges facing the continent: rising sovereign debts, shrinking financing options, energy shortages, weak infrastructure, vulnerability to climate change and the food crisis.

They also reviewed the outlook, while suggesting calls for action that must be implemented if Africa rises to the occasion.

Akufo-Addo, the main host of the AGM, sought the collaboration of African leaders to expand the AfDB’s role in the continent’s development agenda and warned that the skewed global financial system cannot sustain its aspiration to economic emancipation.

The Ghanaian leader, who described the work of the AfDB as “nothing short of exemplary”, referred to rising sovereign debt (which he said is compounding the woes of national governments), the imbalance in global financing from tackling climate change, structural challenges as well as unaffordable cost of borrowing, and warned that Africa has a rare chance to leverage its enormous internal capacity to save its citizens or be doomed forever.

Presenting statistics that underpin Africa’s growing vulnerability in a changing world, he said: “The immediate economic consequences – whether in the form of higher inflation, more low, rising inequality and greater financial instability – are likely to penetrate deeper, as they coincide with weakened economic positions due to the pandemic and pre-existing and now high debt problems.

“Debt challenges are getting worse for us in Africa. In the pursuit of political autonomy in the “age of choice” for economic transformation, our debt profile has changed significantly. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 60% to around 71.1% between 2019 and 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Eighteen African economies faced credit downgrades, even as all economies suffered the fallout of the pandemic last year. Amid these challenges, we must be mindful of our vulnerability to the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy stance and the risk of so-called “tantrums” as investors may exit our markets, compounding further increase in the cost of borrowing. ”

The way forward, he said, is for the continent to strategically expand the AfDB’s role in the regional development agenda so that “we can move from the billion-dollar corridor to the trillion-dollar corridor”.

Adesina said he “has no job” as regional bank chairman but is on a “mission” to make Africa great again.

“My life is useful only insofar as it is used to improve the lives of Africans,” the former Nigerian agriculture minister told cheering African leaders and AfDB members who had described him as an “African development evangelist”.

The AfDB boss said a key strategy to close the financing gap is to leverage the SDR and other resources to deliver the development Africa needs to regain its dignity, warning: “There is no there is no dignity in begging for food”.

He reiterated what has become his mantra that “Africa does not need bowls on its hands but seeds in the fields” to emerge as a self-sufficient continent and a solution to the global food crisis.

He was tough on opponents and distortions of Africa’s history, insisting that disinformation about the region cannot continue to be “legitimized by economists”.

He stressed: “An Africa resilient to climate change, an Africa with energy security for all; an Africa that feeds itself and becomes a solution to global food crises and an economically resilient Africa” is achievable.

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