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Economic transformation of Africa’s rural areas key to curtailing migration says AfDB president

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Akinwumi Adesina

Following the United Nations call to the world to come together to protect all migrants wherever they are, in countries of origin, transit or destination, the African Development Bank (AfDB), has called on African countries to reconstruct rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity.

Making this call on the International Migrants Day, the bank said reconstruction will expand economic opportunities for the youths, leading to improvements in their lives, thereby stemming migration and greater economic opportunities will motivate African youths to stay on the continent and live a meaningful life.

President of the bank, Akinwumi Adesina, noted that the future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe, but in a prosperous Africa. He added that that more than ever before, Africa must rapidly modernize agriculture and unlock its full potential. He explained that statistics from the UN indicate that more people are on the move than ever before. The AfDB chief stated that the mass movement of people along dangerous routes globally inspired the theme of this year’s International Migrants Day, ‘Safe Migration in a World on the Move’.

Professor of International History and Politics at Northwestern University, Richard Joseph, in his paper presentation, observed how population growth in many African countries continues to exceed income flows.

According to him, ‘out-migration’ becomes an option despite the risks. He noted that three challenges, lack of economic opportunities, conflict, and extreme conditions brought about by climate change are key sources of fragility that often result in forced migration.

Adesina described these factors as a ‘triangle of disaster’ that drive conflict and extreme violence, which in turn fan economic or forced migrations as reflected in rural-urban, intra-African or international migrations, leading to significant local and international challenges.

Already, the bank has launched a youth in agriculture initiative – ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment) Youth – to develop the next generation of agripreneurs for Africa. Over the next 10 years, the bank will invest $15 billion to develop new agripreneurs.


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