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The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has urged Nigerian economists to provide their Government with knowledge tools to tackle and overcome the country’s recession.
Adesina, who is on a three-day official visit to the country – the first since he took office as the first Nigerian President of the AfDB in September 2015 – made the call on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 in a vote of thanks following his induction into the Fellowship of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES)
“The greatest asset to any nation is its brain power,” he said, adding that, in times like this, Nigeria’s economists would be expected to offer solutions that can help the country overcome the challenges it faces.
However, he said, Nigeria was not unravelling. “Nigeria is not falling apart. She is not in a debt crisis,” said Adesina, who noted that the problem arose from revenue concentration rather than the lack of diversification.
Adesina commended the bold steps taken by the Government, notably the devaluation of the local currency, the Naira, and the removal of subsidies on petroleum products as necessary actions to secure the economy. The Government must follow up with incentives to spur manufacturing and industry, especially the private sector and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to reap the benefits of devaluation.
He listed a package of funds the Bank is putting in place, including a US $1-billion budget support, in the coming months.
The Nigerian Economic Society recognized Adesina for his superior academic performance and exemplary achievements in Africa and globally. The citation read by Sarah Anyanwu referred to Adesina’s ability to develop and successfully execute bold initiatives that transform the lives of millions of people as well as his passion to unlock wealth for African economies, end poverty, hunger and malnutrition, and lift millions of Africa’s poor, especially women and youth, out of poverty and into Africa’s emerging middle class.
“Today, this great, erudite Nigerian scholar, innovative agricultural policy-maker, respected international civil servant, a creative and prolific economist, is considered fit and worthy to be honoured with investiture of the Fellowship of Nigerian Economic Society (FNES),” she said, as Adesina, who was wearing the academic regalia of the fellowship, received a standing ovation.
The ceremony took place on the occasion of the 57th NES Annual Conference on the theme “The Development State and the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy”. The meeting was attended by scholars, ministers and students at a hotel in Abuja.