The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has disagreed with many who believe in youth empowerment. He said that youth investment is the only key to unlock the envisioned potentials of youth.
When interviewed on the sidelines of the just-ended World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington DC, Adesina said:
“I don’t believe in youth empowerment, at all, because when you say you have empowered somebody and then you train them but there is no financing, investments for them to grow their businesses, what is the good of that? So, we must move from youth empowerment to youth investment.
“We must invest in the youth and unlock their potential. That’s why I have been saying that we need to have youth entrepreneurship and investments banks specially developed, and dedicated to young people; where a young person would enter, and they feel at home; they feel welcomed because it is fully dedicated to them.
“When we had challenges for very micro businesses to have access to finance because you have missing institutions, we developed micro finance institutions for them.
In the case of young people in Africa, you have government failure, you have institutional failure, and you have missing markets to support them. They are just there, floating; there is nothing around them.
“So, I believe it is time to really set up youth entrepreneurship and investment banks that would basically support young people to thrive.
“That’s a big issue for me. So, it’s not just the capacity, but we must create opportunities for young people to thrive. You see, the young people are not just the future of Africa, I don’t believe that.
“They are the today of Africa if you take a look at it. So, whatever we have to do, we have to do it now”.
Nigeria undoubtedly had over the years engaged in series of empowerment, yet poverty, under-development, social and political oddities still exist.