News Column

President Kagame Opens African Development Bank Annual Meetings, Youth Share the Africa They Want With Leaders

May 23, 2014

Today, President Paul Kagame officially opened the 49th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) themed "The next 50 Years: Africa We Want".

Speaking at the opening, President Kagame said that Africa hailed the Bank's policy of focusing on innovative ways to drive development in Africa.

"The African Development Bank, as a global institution, is an essential bridge between Africa and the wider world. It keeps the focus on Africa's unique economic priorities, yet speaks a language everyone understands. The African Development Bank is a model of how Africa and the developed world can work together for mutual benefit and with mutual respect" he added

President Kagame Kagame said also that without a doubt, Africa has made progress over the last half a century and that the world was starting to take note.

"For most of our countries the road has been uneven and we have sometimes stumbled or stalled. But we have forged ahead. Across the continent, there is a renewed sense of optimism that gives meaning to the now familiar phrase of "Africa Rising". Evidence points to sustained economic growth for the coming decades. This upward curve is the result of deliberate action by African countries".

President of AfDB Dr. Donald Kaberuka said that the bank will continue to stay relevant and both continue to finance Africa's development and bring Africa to the global competitive market.

"Our business has continued to grow, increasing by 45% in the last five years and tripling in the last eight years, our risk bearing capacity is up 25% in the last four years. We have remained relevant in crisis times, with counter cyclical lending, as we did in 2009, nearly doubling lending as high as one to six" he said

Speaking on Rwanda's progress in the last twenty years since the Genocide against the Tutsi, Dr. Kaberuka said that the AfDB remains "a committed friend in this quest for reconstruction and transformation of Rwanda, of this Region and Africa at large."

In addition, Dr. Kaberuka said that the Bank is opening up offices in Bangui and Juba and are already at work to help these two countries overcome the many obstacles they face.

A dialogue with leaders

During an interactive panel themed "Have Your Say", bringing together President Kagame, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya, leaders discussed Africa's opportunities and how the youth can drive Africa's future.

President Museveni said the fact that Africa is experiencing growth without adequate infrastructure is indicative of the potential of the continent. He also pointed out that when people talk about the youth of Africa, it should not just be about the biological aspect but mostly about ideology.

President Bongo pointed out that no other continent has done what Africa has done in last 50 years but suggested that Africa should be more ambitious and be practical.

Deputy President Ruto in his interventions focused on the projects that the northern corridor countries are implementing to meet infrastructure and trade challenges.

President Kagame, in his remarks, emphasised the need for implementation. "We can't do everything at once but there are some things we can do now. We don't have to wait for rail to lift visas for African's across the continent."

As for the role of young people, President Kagame challenged youth to get involved, explaining that in Rwanda, many young people already hold positions of leadership. "On the side of government, we must create an enabling environment for youth."

Various interventions from the youth asked leaders to ease mobility, create an environment for innovation, provide more than formal education, involve youth more in decision making, work towards facilitating trade across borders and making career development a priority.

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Source: AllAfrica

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