AfDB champions energy access and job creation for youth at the WEF

18/05/2016
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At the just-concluded World Economic Forum on Africa, the African Development Bank reiterated the need to improve energy access to all in efforts to industrialise the continent. President Akinwumi Adesina, while participating in a presidential panel on Implementing Africa's Development Agendas, said, "Without electricity, nothing happens. We need to light up and power Africa as energy is key to industrialisation".

Adesina shared the Bank's 10-year roadmap for tackling Africa's huge energy deficit, noting that the strategy would boost the continent's industrial capacity and competitiveness. Energy is at the top of the Bank's High 5 priorities - Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Under the energy strategy the Bank will invest US$12 billion of its own resources in the energy sector in five years, and will partner with other players to mobilise domestic and international capital for innovative financing in Africa's energy industry. The initiative is expected to increase on-grid generation by 160 GW of new capacity by 2025, nearly doubling the continent's existing capacity.

Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon expressed support for the Bank's initiative which seeks to exploit the continent's massive resources for both conventional and renewable energy. Bongo committed to increase his country's resource allocation to the energy sector.

Fixing the energy problem, the forum agreed, would stimulate industrialisation, creating the much needed jobs especially for Africa's youth. The Bank's Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) strategy received commendation for its plan to create 25 million jobs and positively impact 50 million youth over the next decade. Under the strategy, the Bank will invest US$5 billion which is expected to open opportunities for 50 million young people through skills development and job creation in Agriculture, Industry and ICT

Ginette Muteta, a manager at the Bank's Human Development department, held several bilateral meetings with potential partners seeking collaboration on youth employment in Africa. "Given the cross-sectoral nature of job creation for youth, the World Economic Forum 2016 represents a great opportunity to bring together some major stakeholders engaged in creating jobs for youth in Africa," she said. Some of the organisations include United Nations agencies, the World Bank and Siemens.

Collaboration will occur in four main areas: Funding, Incubation and Knowledge Generation, Program Design and Implementation, and Job Linkages.

The 26th World Economic Forum on Africa brought together over 1,200 participants from more than 75 countries including 11 African Heads of State and government, business leaders, women leaders, youth leaders, social entrepreneurs and the media.

The May 11-13, 2016 event was held in Kigali, Rwanda, under the theme Connecting Africa's Resources Through Digital Transformation.