“Shaping a New Era of Prosperity”

by Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President, African Development Bank Group

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The world has never been wealthier than it is today. Yet, the levels of inequality remain high and keep increasing. To reverse this trend, collective action is needed from governments, multilateral institutions, the private sector, civil society and all stakeholders.

My vision is to help open a new era of shared prosperity for all, and in particular for Africans, by spurring sustainable and inclusive growth. An era where every man, woman, youth, has an opportunity to contribute to, and benefit from, economic growth. To this end, we have to promote business-friendly reforms for the private sector to flourish; social policies to ensure that no one is left behind; and good governance, including increased accountability from decision-makers.

Specifically, we need to increase agricultural production and access to nutritious food while actively seeking more value-added and more wealth creation through industrialization. Second, we need to build sustainable cities with reliable and affordable energy supplies to light up households and power industries. Third, we need to invest heavily in high quality regional infrastructure and work with countries to remove "soft" barriers to effective regional integration related to trade and transit facilitation.

This new era of prosperity will require all stakeholders to leverage their resources - financial institutions, in particular, will have to stretch their balance sheets in order to invest more heavily in health for greater well-being and in education for a satisfying and rewarding life. Future generations must also be prepared for changing climatic conditions and pressing environmental constraints, requiring responsible and efficient management of natural resources.

The new paradigm is that all these issues will need to be tackled simultaneously, making the task ahead gigantic. We must therefore focus our efforts on high-impact areas, build strategic and synergistic partnerships, and mobilize massive amounts of resources to generate large-scale returns.

This is the time to work together to leave future African generations a peaceful, secure and united continent, filled with hope, freedom and increased opportunities for all. A prosperous and open Africa that they will be proud to call home.

This is the goal I intend to work towards and fulfil during my tenure at the African Development Bank.