Africa: Preserving the Independence of the African Development Bank for an Economic Transformation Across the Continent with and by its Young People

African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina addressing the 53rd Annual Meetings of the AfDB held in Busan, Korea. "Africa must stop being a museum of poverty. Its people are determined to reverse this trend…the world must also begin to look at Africa through an investment lens rather than as a development case,” Adesina told reporters on the sidelines of the Busan Annual Meetings.
2 June 2020
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Young Leaders Friends of AfDB

We, the youth of the African continent, as integral participants of the civil society and the economic world, working in our respective countries or from the diaspora, hereby assert our deep attachment to the independence of the African Development Bank, a major player in the growth of the continent, and our refusal to see any form of foreign interference in its governance.

Our call comes in the wake of the one made by former heads of State, signed on Friday, May 29, 2020. We would like to express our recognition and state the wish of the young generation to continue the Iight for an independent and prosperous Africa.

Aware of the challenges and issues facing the continent, we celebrate the progress made by President Adesina and the strategy developed in the name of the African Development Bank through the "High 5" program: light up and provide energy to Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for Africans. As of last October 31st, under his leadership, the Bank enacted an historic increase in its capital from 93 to 208 billion dollars to be reached by 2030. We also feel that the African Development Bank has been able to efficiently respond to the current crisis through the creation of an emergency fund of three billion dollars to Iight the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent.

Africa has 200 million inhabitants aged between 15 and 24 and our continent has the biggest proportion of young people in the world. The Bank provides a key role in encouraging the inclusive economic transformation of Africa by way of its youth. Through all of its programs that strive to strengthen the capacities of people in Africa, to ensure the economic empowerment of the youth and women and to promote entrepreneurship, the African Development Bank has proven, on a day-to-day level, its crucial importance for young Africans.

As a result, we would like to show our support for President Adesina who was able to firmly place African youth at the heart of his development policy through the three pillars of innovation, integration and investment. Doing so, we actively support the "Strategy for the employment of young people in Africa," initiated by the Bank, with the objective of making 50 million young people independent by 2025. We welcome the program "Coding for Employment," which aims to create 130 centers of excellence throughout Africa.

We also commend the central role that President Adesina wants to give to young people during each Africa Investment Forum, the largest entirely transactional, investment market on the African continent.

Faced with the slander campaign and political attacks that President Adesina has been subject to, we want the outcry of the militant youth to be heard in order to protect the independence of the African Development Bank. Our desire is to see the momentum started under Adesina continue, supporting inclusive growth and intensifying investment on the African continent that will primarily benefit young people.

We express our firm refusal of all attempts to supervise the Bank in the interest of non- African powers and our total rejection of any interference in the internal operations of the institution. Our elders fought against colonialism and for the independence of Africa, sacrificing themselves for this cause. Today, African youth cannot just stand idly by and watch a return to old methods in other guises without fierce opposition.

It is our responsibility as young Africans to defend the independence of the African Development Bank, an institution we see as a catalyst and a means for socio-economic development on our continent. We cannot have its governance ripped away from Africa.

Our Bank and the projects that it supports cannot be held hostage to the vague hopes of foreign powers. Our young people must not be the collateral victims of a vile destabilization campaign aimed at infantilizing African leaders.

We will ensure that the impetus given by the African Development Bank under the leadership of President Adesina, continues to take form and benefit young people whether they be found in the agricultural sector, in industry or in new technologies. For this we will strive to combine the willingness and full force of young African people to ensure respect for our institutions and to defend the broader interests of our youth.

Omar Alaoui (Partner ESL & Network) Hafsat Abiola (President Women In Africa)
Hafsat Abiola (Présidente Women In Africa)
Dr Vivien Patrice Lyod Amos Makaga Péa (Lawyer)
Nawel Bellour (Partner Bellour & Associés)
Pape Landing Mané (President CJD International)
Noura Maylin (Lawyer)
Samuel Tamba (Digital expert)
Stéphane Tiki (Development Director of "Groupement du patronat francophone")

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