Felix Kaiza/ADB Sources
African leaders have a two-point equation to adopt if they want to benefit from the youth who constitute the continent’s best assets.
As, they struggle to build towards the future, they must not only develop but also have confidence in the youth besides training them in becoming dynamic, resourceful and entrepreneurial.
Reading the letter and spirit of the just ended African Development Bank (ADB) three-day Annual Meetings in Equatorial Guinea to exchange views on emerging issues shaping the future of the continent, the host country’s story stands testimony to this.
Talking to about 2,000 delegates on what could be called the Malabo Equation, ADB Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, paid tribute to President Obian Nguema Mbasago for what he called his determination to trust and invest in the youth.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment of the new Minister of Finance, a young, bright and very dynamic 39-year old economist, and a former associate Professor of economics in Spain.
“My interactions with him showed me you made a very smart choice Mr. President. By his appointment, you have demonstrated remarkable confidence in the youth as you build towards the future. Well done!”
Dr. Adesina cited the Teg Campus – “an IT and coding boot camp right here in Malabo. There, I saw dynamism, resourcefulness and entrepreneurship of the youth in action. The basketball stadium was jam packed - not with basketball players - but with budding young entrepreneurs. The Tech Campus is laying the foundation of what will become the “Silicon Valley” or should I say ‘the Malabo Forest’ for IT in Equatorial Guinea.
He singled out four youth icons. “Sigfredo who developed a moving robot and wants to study aeronautics and robotics; 18-year old Angelica who created an intelligent stick for the blind and visually impaired; Mathias, who inspired by the beauty of his country designed an impressive online digital portal; Celso, who has a well thought out agribusiness idea for processing mangoes and avocadoes; and Quintin who is developing a safety and security App for taxi users.”
In a symbolic message to leaders on the African continent, Dr. Adesina told President Mbasago: “The youth of Equatorial Guinea are the best assets you have… Keep up your determination to invest in the youth.”
While acknowledging the importance of greater integration particularly for small landlocked countries, Lesotho leader, King Letsie, said in the spirit of the occasion: “Grey matter” infrastructure was equally important. “If we do not pay enough attention to developing and building the human being – mentally and physically– we cannot develop.”