“Africa, which produces 75% of the world’s cocoa, receives only 2% of the US $100-billion annual chocolate market. African farmers sweat, while others eat sweets. While the price of cocoa has hit an all-time low, profits of global manufacturers of chocolates have hit an all-time high. It’s time to process Africa’s cocoa in Africa, for we must end Africa being at the bottom of global value chains.” Adesina on African’s agriculture.
President of the AfDB, Akinwumi A. Adesina, said at the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank Group, Ahmedabad, India, that Africa’s youth population will rise from 434 million to 840 million by 2050.
While delivering the Keynote speech, Adelina said Africa will become the youngest region of the world. 38 out of the 40 countries that will be the youngest nations are African.
“The median age for Africa will be 25 years. If this huge demographic asset is well tapped and well trained, it will make Africa the talent centre of the future.
“But today their situation is not prosperous. One-third of them are unemployed or discouraged, one-third is in vulnerable employment and only one sixth are in wage employment. If we can cut back the unemployment rate of the youth to the same as adults, African economies will grow by between 10-20%. We would reduce the one million migrants from Africa to Europe in 2016 alone, some 160,000 to Italy and avoid the over 5,000 young people whose future now lies buried at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.”
Adesina continued, “Africa’s youth unemployment stares us in the face, stirs up our conscience and calls us to action. Africa’s youth don’t need handouts; they need support to spark their creativity and unleash their entrepreneurship. We are taking action. That’s why the Bank launched the Jobs for Youth in Africa, designed to support Africa to create 25 million jobs for youths and impact 50 million youth within 10 years. Making agriculture cool for the youth is a key part of our action plan. That’s why we invested US $800 million in 2016 to support 50,000 young commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs in eight countries. Some of them are in this room today. They are the future for Africa’s agriculture.”
On promoting agricultural growth in the continent Adesina said Africa needs to industrialize its agricultural sector to unlock wealth.
“To achieve this, Africa needs to establish Staple Crop Processing Zones and Agro-industrial Zones –fully enabled with physical infrastructure – to attract private agribusinesses to locate in rural areas, create market pull for produce of farmers, and reduce high post-harvest losses in the supply chains. By doing so, we will turn rural areas from zones of economic misery to new zones of economic prosperity.
“We will be able to empower African countries to add greater value for what they produce. Our massive cotton production will translate into textile and garments. After all the price of apparels never go down, even when price of cotton declines. That’s why we are pleased to showcase the “Fashionomics” session at this Annual Meeting.”
Addressing the gathering of delegates from 80 African countries on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented his development agenda and policies to African leaders at the 52nd annual meeting.
He highlighted the stronger and long-lasting cooperation between Africa and India to achieve mutually beneficial goals.
He said India can join hands on some successful areas. To address issues on poverty, women empowerment, rural development and infrastructure, noting that the training of “solar mamas” for Africa has yielded dual outcomes.