Former Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina has formally assumed office as the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
At a ceremony in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday, attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Adesina took the oath of office administered by Zambia’s Finance Minister and Chair of the Board of Governors, Alexander Chikwanda.
“We must integrate Africa,” he said. “Grow together, develop together. Our collective destiny is tied to breaking down the barriers separating us.
“We will build stronger partnerships for impact – from the private sector, civil society and academic institutions, multilateral and bilateral development agencies. We will advance Africa’s priorities, as envisaged by the Founding Fathers of the Bank. We will be a strong voice for Africa, positioning and building support for Africa in the global environment,” the new AfDB president stressed.
Prof. Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event said African countries need a new strategy in the face of daunting challenges.
“How can trickle down paradigms work when half our populations are extremely poor? Do we not need some attention to social investment?” Osinbajo asked.
However, he expressed optimism that the African Development Bank given its recent achievements under the immediate past President, Donald Kaberuka, can greatly assist Africa in addressing some of its socioeconomic problems.
Prof. Osinbajo, therefore, urged the new AfDB President ” to focus on how economic policy can produce economic empowerment for women, and all categories of our people who have become disempowered and whose voices are seldom reflected in the rhetoric of policy”.
Those present at the ceremony include Cape Verde’s former President Pedro Pires, Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, former Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among others.