African Development Bank Group (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina, has remarked that Africa should be a powerhouse full of renewable energy. He made this remark while speaking on Saturday at Calvin University, Michigan, United States of America.
Earlier in April, the AfDB president was selected as the commencement speaker for Calvin’s Spring 2023 Commencement ceremony, scheduled for Saturday, April 29, at Van Noord Arena, located at 3195 Knight Way, just off the East Beltline.
Just before the commencement address, during a reception put up in his honour by former Amway Chief Executive Officer and current Continuum Ventures LLC CEO Doug DeVos, Adesina passed the comment on Africa’s economic potential.
He said: “Most people don’t know that African consumers and business investment will reach about $7 trillion in just three years.
“In terms of agriculture, 65 per cent of the land in the world will feed 9 billion people by 2050 … It’s in Africa. So what Africa does with agriculture is going to determine the future of food pretty much in the world. And so there’s a lot of opportunity in agriculture.”
Adesina estimated that the market size of agriculture would be worth a trillion dollars by 2030. “One thing about Africa is we got just 54 countries. And that’s small in terms of market sizes, so you need economies to scale and scope to allow for big investments.”
He referenced the Africa Continental Free Trade which brings together the 54 countries to allow for trade throughout the countries. He said the market size is worth $3.6 trillion, which, according to him, “is a market that you cannot ignore.”
“The other reason you cannot ignore it is because of the young population. Africa is actually the youngest continent in the world. Seventy- five per cent of our population is less than the age of 35 years. So Africa’s best asset is this young population. But the question is how to turn that from being a demographic asset into being a real capital for us to grow our economies,” he said.
As a result Adesina said what Africa needs is not aid, rather private capital and investment to allow the businesses and digital infrastructures of young people to drive the world.
In terms of resources, Adesina cited renewable energy, saying Africa should be a powerhouse in the world. “Hydro, geothermal, wind. Africa should be a powerhouse full of renewable energy globally,” he said. “So these are the areas I think offer tremendous amount of opportunities.”
He encouraged the audience to take a different look at Africa. He closed his speech saying “Africa is a frontier, and if you’re not investing in Africa, I would ask you where you’re investing.”