The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has called for urgent action to end rural poverty in Africa.
He spoke at a conference on the future of the rural world in Berlin, Germany, where in 1884, Africa was partitioned by European colonialists.
“We must pay particular attention to three factors: extreme rural poverty, high rates of unemployment among the youths and climate and environmental degradation – what I refer to as the ‘disaster triangle’,” Adesina told participants during a keynote speech at the ‘One World, No Hunger: Future of the Rural World’ conference hosted by the German Development Ministry (BMZ).
Noting that conflicts and terrorism easily take root where these three factors exist, Adesina stressed the imperative of investing heavily in Africa’s rural areas and reversing endemic misery to prosperity. “We must create jobs for the youths and disrupt terrorists’ recruitments that are taking root in these rural areas …. We must connect economic security, food security and climate security,” he said.
The AfDB President shared the Bank’s efforts in rural economies including the investment of US $24 billion in agriculture in the next 10 years and in several other domains through its ambitious multi-billion High 5 priorities – Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
He reiterated the Bank’s strong support for Germany’s Compact with Africa and its focus on food security, energy, jobs, infrastructure, peace and security, which are very much in line with the High 5s.
For his part, German Development Minister Gerd Müller noted that “Only strong rural areas will be able to prevent hunger crises in the future and offer truly good prospects to young people.”
He welcomed 150 young people from Germany, Africa and various G20 countries, who were invited to speak at the conference noting that “the future of humankind will be decided in the world’s rural areas!”
Germany is using its current Presidency of the G20 to work towards the adoption of concrete agreements on fostering youth employment in rural areas. Participants will endorse the Berlin Charter on Creating Opportunities for the Young Generation in the Rural World at the end of the conference.
Key participants at the forum include Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus; Sudanese-British entrepreneur/philanthropist Mo Ibrahim; Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Elumelu; the Head of German Federal Chancellery, Peter Altmaier; and Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt.
The conference took place on Thursday.