President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has disclosed plans to establish a youth entrepreneurship investment bank for young Africans.
Adesina disclosed this in statement on Monday during a zoom meeting where he was honoured as the outgoing holder of the African Leadership Magazine’s African of the Year Award.
The AfDB boss said he did not believe in ‘empowerment of youths’ as he sees youths as assets that can develop fintech and digital economy in Africa.
He said, “Today in Africa, I don’t think we are doing enough for Africans. One-third of the population is between the age of 15 and 35. Sixty per cent of the population is below 25.
“We must invest in the youth now and, I don’t like the word ‘empowerment of the youth’. It doesn’t mean anything to me. The youth need investment to unlock their skills; they don’t need handouts.”
He added, “How we invest in them will determine Africa’s future. They are talented, many of them have gone to school. Unfortunately, they face issues like unemployment. I see the youths as assets and I have said that the bank will put its resources to unlock a new type of financial ecosystem around Africa’s youth.
“I see them developing fintech industries, digital economy across the continent but they need financing. We will launch youth entrepreneurship investment banks; they will be specialised banks for the youths.”
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, who also spoke at the event canvassed for investments into the state, noting that the pandemic indeed impacted his tenure.
He said, “We came into a COVID-19 world. I say this because we assumed office on February 14 2020. As soon as I came into office, not quite a month, the COVID-19 started. We appeared to have lost about a year to COVID-19 and other unidentified issues.”
The governor called for investments in the oil, gas and agricultural sectors of the state, highlighting the value the investments would bring to the sub-region.