AfDB's Adesina pushes an all-hands 'High 5' approach to African development

As the African Development Bank seeks to mobilize more funding than ever before, the head of the multilateral development bank plans to leverage its balance sheet to reduce risk to private companies and “get the right fire power for the right things.”

During the World Bank Spring Meetings held in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina sat down with Devex to discuss how he plans to achieve his “High 5” agenda strategy. His five clearly defined priorities are Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

“I see them as accelerators of development for Africa,” he told Devex. “If Africa focuses on the High 5’s, it will achieve 90 percent of Sustainable Development Goals [and] 90 percent of Agenda 2063, which all the heads of state in Africa actually signed up for.”

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Under his leadership, the AfDB has undergone vast internal reform, including personnel restructuring and an expansion of regional offices to better achieve in-country objectives. On-going recruitment efforts seek to hire 600 new staff this year.

Adesina believes that local resources can achieve these goals and that Africa itself has the money needed to transform the continent.  “Lots of the resources to do this is actually in the countries themselves, so we are going to be focusing quite a lot on how to help countries mobilize significant amounts of their own capital,” he said. “I know Africa has the money.”

The private sector must also play a more dominant role. Adesina said the bank is working hard to derisk investment made by the private sector and to leverage capital markets that will support development issues on the continent. He said increased emphasis must also be placed on bankable projects.

“We ourselves … did 10.5 billion of approvals, which is the highest in the history of the bank,” he told Devex.

Watch below to learn more about Adesina’s High 5 approach to African transformation.

Via YouTube

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About the author

  • Christin Roby

    Christin Roby worked as the West Africa Correspondent for Devex, covering global development trends, health, technology, and policy. Before relocating to West Africa, Christin spent several years working in local newsrooms and earned her master of science in videography and global affairs reporting from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her informed insight into the region stems from her diverse coverage of more than a dozen African nations.