The president of the African Development Bank ( AfDB ) has asserted that for Africa’s economy to thrive, the current export model must be replaced with one that permits industrialization and diversification.
During the opening ceremony of the 2016 AfDB Annual Meetings on energy and climate change in Lusaka, Zambia, The president of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said that “Africa needs to diversify its export mix and add value to all of its raw materials by developing efficient and competitive value chains.”
Dr Adesina asserted that Africa’s usual export of raw materials is causing more harm than good. He made an example with cocoa, stating that although Africa is the top producer of cocoa with over 75%, it only gets 2% of world chocolate (a by-product of cocoa) profit.
The president said it’s time for Africa to be industrialized, having accounted for only 1.9% of the global value added in manufacturing — a case that has been for decades.
He urged Africans to be wary of falling into the debt trap, stating that an “indebted Africa cannot be a rising Africa”. He added that a lot of African countries “face a challenge of high cost of financing the foreign currency denominated debt”.
For industrialization to happen to the advancement of Africa, Dr. Adesina believes Africa must look inwards for resources. He also advised that illicit capital flows must come to an end.
“Money belonging to the citizens should not be found in personal accounts. These are all significant financing sources that should be effectively channeled for development.”
The AfDB is also committed to assisting women with the proposed launch of the Affirmation Finance Action for Women which will dedicate $3 billion to support women entrepreneurs across Africa.
The 2016 AfDB Annual meeting had about 5,000 participants from different countries come together to discuss Africa’s social and economic development. Among them were, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Chadian President Idris Deby.