The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has urged African leaders to tackle infrastructural challenges as an annual estimate of between $64 and $108bn is required to finance the infrastructural gap.
According to a statement from the bank, Adesina made the call at the International Forum on African Leadership organised by the African Leadership Magazine.
In his keynote address, the AfDB president called for strong leadership, a shared sense of collective responsibility and the transparent management of the continent’s vast natural wealth.
He said the speed of the economic recovery process from the pandemic would depend on collective responsibility and the financial capacity of developing countries to address immediate shocks, stabilize their economies and invest in growing back.
He emphasised that African leaders needed to tap and optimally harness domestic sources of revenue and resources, which he also noted were crucial to Africa’s economic recovery.
“Africa must grow by mobilizing domestic resources, especially by unlocking its over $1tn in pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance funds to help close the annual infrastructure financing gap estimated at $64-108bn,” Adesina said.
He also highlighted the need for transparent management of the continent’s immense natural wealth.
“Africa will build back faster by also harnessing and better managing the revenue streams from its abundant natural resources, including minerals, metals, biodiversity, blue economy, forest resources, agriculture, and oil and gas, to boost domestic savings,” he said.
The President of the Republic of Malawi, Lazarus Chakweras, said African leaders must be at their creative best to secure critical global partnerships and to drive the continent’s economic resurgence. He stressed the role of good governance in building resilient economies, adding that governments also needed to build trust with their citizens.
A member of the United Kingdom’s House of Lords, Dolar Popat, acknowledged the emergence of a new Africa, but urged further improvement in the continent’s investment climate to attract greater private sector investment.