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The president of the African Development Bank, (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has called on African leaders to take a proactive stance towards managing the current migration crisis in the region.

Making this plea when he spoke on the issues of youth employment and migration in a speech delivered at the 34th session of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, at the Africa Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Adesina urged the continent’s leaders to also ensure that they prevent any future migration crisis.

In the speech, the AfDB president said that Africa must invest in building a future for Africa’s youth in which they can participate with pride and enthusiasm. He added that stable, high quality of employment for Africa’s youth is the answer.

Adesina said that Africa’s pervasive lack of economic opportunity for the youth also fuels migration.

“Sometimes it is internal migration, where the youth leave rural areas for urban centres, putting a strain on our cities and still not finding opportunity. Sometimes it is external migration to Europe and beyond,” he stressed.

“I am proud to announce that the African Development Bank, in collaboration with the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, is currently developing a Jobs for Africa’s Youth Initiative as the centrepiece of our effort to improve the quality of life for all Africans. Our goal is to equip Africa’s youth to realize their economic potential and drive inclusive growth across the continent.

“The Jobs for Africa’s Youth Initiative will focus on creating jobs for rural youths via agriculture, develop a new generation of young graduates for commercial agriculture and agribusiness (Agripreneurs), develop Skills Enhancement Zones which will link industrial clusters with young graduates for skills development for the labour market and develop a new generation of young ICT entrepreneurs for Africa.

“They will be supported with business incubation and financing facilities to grow their businesses.

“We expect that the Jobs for Africa’s Youth Initiative – which will work across all African countries – will reach over 50 million youths over a 10-year period and stimulate the creation of 25 million jobs. It will add an additional $30 billion to African economies. More importantly, it will help us to stem the tide of migration within Africa and into Europe. We will keep Africa’s youth in Africa by expanding economic opportunities as well as providing an enabling environment for them. This will help Africa to turn its demographic asset into an economic dividend”

Adesina also positioned the Bank as a key player by leveraging resources to support the African countries in implementation of Agenda 2063 and broadened the dialogue with African Heads of State and development partners on “the High Fives” and the New Deal on Energy for Africa.

“The African Development Bank stands fully ready to work with African Leaders to achieve these development goals. We need your leadership. We need you as advocates. We need you as drivers for change. Together we will Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the Quality of life for Africans. We will jointly achieve the High 5s for Africa,” he said.

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