Welcome Message - Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina
It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome you to the 2019 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group here in the beautiful country of Equatorial Guinea.
In a short period of time, Equatorial Guinea has built world-class infrastructure which will provide today’s younger generation with tremendous advantages. While physical infrastructure is key to development and regional integration, ‘grey matter’ infrastructure—human capital development— is even much more important.
Just a few weeks ago, I attended an IT and Coding Boot Camp right here in Malabo and was thrilled by the ingenuity and creativity of the participants—young men and women—who in five days created an amazing array of technological solutions.
Among them, Sigfredo, who developed a moving robot and one day intends to study aeronautics and robotics; 18-year old Angelica, who created an intelligent stick for the blind and visually impaired; Mathias, who, inspired by the beauty of his country, designed an impressive online visitor portal; Celso, who has a well-thought-out agro-business idea for processing mangos and avocados; and Quintin, who is developing a safety and security App for taxi users.
As a Bank, we are committed to creating 25 million jobs in 10 years. Many of these new jobs will be in science and technology, IT, agro-businesses, fashionomics, multimedia, and a host of other startups and companies. We will continue to work hard to ensure that young entrepreneurs are able to scale up, shape the economies of their countries, and succeed in their respective enterprises.
I appreciate the feedback and support I have continued to receive from the Governors of our Bank. Thanks to their insights and counsel, we continue to impact the daily lives of the people of Africa. Actually, 181 million lives in less than 4 years. Men and women farmers who are producing better harvests on account of improved access to agricultural technologies; Children, who can study at night because they have access to electricity. Young men and women such as Sigfredo and Anjelica, who can imagine better futures for themselves; and traders and businesses, who are covering greater distances ever more quickly, on account of improved roads and the creation of one stop border posts.
To all of our participants, I trust that you will have successful meetings, productive networking opportunities, inspiring knowledge events, and that together, we will help shape the future of an integrated and economically prosperous Africa.