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Transformation of Africa’s rural areas is key to curtailing migration, says Adesina

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President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina. PHOTO: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

As Africa joins the rest of the world to commemorate International Migrants Day today, the African Development Bank (ADB) has called on countries in the continent to reconstruct rural areas from zone of economic misery to that of prosperity.

ADB says this will in turn expand economic opportunities for African youth, leading to improvements in their lives, thereby stemming migration.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, ADB noted that greater economic opportunities would motivate African youth to stay on the continent and live a meaningful life.

“More than ever before, Africa must rapidly modernize its agriculture and unlock its full potential.’’

According to the President of ADB, Akinwumi Adesina, the future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe, but in a prosperous Africa.

“Addressing the challenges of food insecurity is critical in addressing the more complex issues of migration and displacement. Reducing inter-communal conflict over scarce resources, such as water and pasture for animals, is also key.

“This requires new agricultural innovations and transforming agriculture into a sector for creating wealth. We must make agriculture a really cool choice for young people,” said Adesina.

Adesina said lack of economic opportunities, conflict and extreme conditions brought about by climate change are key sources of fragility that often result in the forced migration of people desperately seeking alternatives.

He describes 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.

According to the UN, the challenges and difficulties of international migration require enhanced cooperation and collective action among countries and regions.

This is one of the reasons the bank is accelerating investments to get younger commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs into agriculture.

Already, the ADB has launched a youth in agriculture initiative–Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth – to develop the next generation of “agripreneurs” for Africa.

Over the next 10 years, the bank will invest $15 billion to develop new youth agriculture entrepreneurs.


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