adesina president
adesina president speech
Akinwumi Adesina promises that the Bank will launch a new deal on energy for Africa. Pic credit: African Development Bank

On Tuesday, former Nigerian Agriculture Minister, Akinwumi Adesina, assumed office as the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group.

The ceremony took place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire where Adesina took the oath of office delivered by Zambia’s Finance Minister and Chair of the Board of Governors, Alexander Chikwanda.

This ceremony follows the Bank’s announcement in May this year, which announced the election of Adesina as the new president to lead the Bank from 1 September 2015.

Energy a key driver to growth

With electricity being a key driver of economic growth and development, Adesina emphasised that “we must light up and power Africa. Energy is the engine that powers economies.”

According to a statement from the African Development Bank, Adesina promised that the Bank will launch a New Deal on Energy for Africa. “Africa is blessed with limitless potential for solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal energy resources. We must unlock Africa’s energy potential – both conventional and renewable.”

Out of the 1.3 billion people globally not having access to electricity, 620 million reside in sub-Saharan Africa, One.org reported.

African Development Bank: expanding opportunities

Adesina vowed that under his presidency, the African Development Bank will continue to support and facilitate growth and development across the continent, encouraging private sector participation and the expansion of opportunities.

Adesina said: “The sparkle in the eyes of the fortunate few is drowned by the sense of exclusion by the majority. Hundreds of millions of people are left behind.

“Africa can no longer be content with simply managing poverty. For our future and the future of our children, we must eliminate it.

“We must integrate Africa. Grow together, develop together. Our collective destiny is tied to breaking down the barriers separating us.

He added: “We will build stronger partnerships for impact – from the private sector, civil society and academic institutions, multilateral and bilateral development agencies. We will advance Africa’s priorities, as envisaged by the Founding Fathers of the Bank. We will be a strong voice for Africa, positioning and building support for Africa in the global environment.”

Key priorities identified

Adesina highlighted five key motivators, which will drive the Bank’s work as it implements its current 2013-2022 Strategy: “Light up and Power Africa. Feed Africa. Integrate Africa. Industrialize Africa. Improve quality of life for the people of Africa.”

He explained: “Our Bank staff processes and systems will be shaped to deliver on these critical imperatives. We will become sharply focused on measuring the results of our lending operations on the lives of people.

“No longer will we judge ourselves simply based on the size of our lending portfolio, but on the strength of Africa’s growth and development and the quality of improvements in the lives of the African people.

“We will be more than a lending institution. We will build a highly competitive, world-class, knowledge-driven Bank, to provide top-notch policy and advisory services to countries and the private sector. We will become a true development institution with measurable impacts on the lives of Africans.”

Adesina concluded with a note of optimism for the continent:  “Let us rededicate ourselves to a greater Africa. An Africa with prosperous, sustainable and inclusive growth – one that is peaceful, secure and united, regionally integrated and globally competitive.

“A continent filled with hope, opportunities, liberties and freedom, with shared prosperity for all. An Africa that is open to the world, one that Africans are proud to call home.”

Home page pic credit: African Development Bank