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Rural Areas Must Change from Misery to Prosperity –AfDB

Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, the future of Africas youth does not lie in migration to Europe, but in a prosperous Africa. This is part of his message ahead of the International Migrants Day, December 18.
16 Dec 2017 10:04
The African Development Bank has called on African countries to reconstruct rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. This will, in turn, expand economic opportunities for African youth, leading to improvements in their lives, thereby stemming migration.

Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, the future of Africa's youth does not lie in migration to Europe, but in a prosperous Africa. This is part of his message ahead of the International Migrants Day, December 18.

Statistics from the United Nations indicate that more people are on the move than ever before, while each migrant has a unique story to tell about his or her journey.  This mass movement of people along dangerous routes globally inspired the theme of this year's International Migrants Day: “Safe Migration in a World on the Move”.

Adesina says that Africa must rapidly modernize its agriculture and unlock its full potential, adding that addressing the challenges of food insecurity is critical in addressing the more complex issues of migration and displacement. Reducing inter-communal conflict over scarce resources such as water and pasture for animals is also key, he added.

“This requires new agricultural innovations and transforming agriculture into a sector for creating wealth. We must make agriculture a really cool choice for young people,” Adesina said. He is optimistic that such economic opportunities will motivate African youth to stay on the continent and live a meaningful life.

He says that staple food processing and agro-allied industrial zones will transform rural Africa from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. “These zones will also allow Africa to move into agro-industrialization and become a global player in feeding the world,” he adds.

The African Development Bank is accelerating investments to get younger commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs into agriculture. The bank has launched a youth in agriculture initiative – ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment) Youth – to develop the next generation of “agripreneurs” for Africa. Over the next 10 years, the Bank will invest USD 15 billion to develop new youth agriculture entrepreneurs.

The ENABLE Youth program has shown that with greater access to agribusiness enterprise, skills, and improved credit, youth can become a driving force of agricultural transformation in Africa, and stem the tide of rural and transatlantic youth migration.

Food security and rural development are interlinked with migration, fragility and resilience, Khaled Sherif, the Bank's Vice-President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery said.

“We acknowledge that youth constitute the majority of African migrants, and for this reason, we have also implemented a Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative. Our aim is to expand economic opportunities for male and female African youth, in order to create improvements in other aspects of their lives,” he said.

The goal of the African Development Bank's USD 24 billion Feed Africa Strategy is to make Africa self-sufficient in food production within 10 years, drive agro-industrial development, and make the continent competitive in global food and agriculture markets.

The UN is also calling on the world to come together to protect all migrants wherever they are – in countries of origin, transit or destination. According to the UN, the challenges and difficulties of international migration require enhanced cooperation and collective action among countries and regions.

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