AfDB chief Akinwumi Adesina calls on Mandela Washington Fellows to be change agents for Africa

posted in: AfDB - BAD, Africa

African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President Akinwumi Adesina has called on the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows for Côte d’Ivoire to research and develop innovative ideas that will move Africa forward.

Adesina gave the charge when he hosted 18 Ivorian recipients of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan. The recipients are 20 Fellows, made up of 18 Ivorians and two Nigeriens working in Abidjan.

The Fellowship is a flagship programme of former US President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.

This year the programme will provide 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at US higher education institutions with support for professional development after they return home.

“We want to see you come back to take up leadership roles. You are the future, but also the present leaders. We don’t need you in the future, we need you now. The people that we are looking to today are young people,” the AfDB President said.

“You need to come back to Africa after the fellowship and work towards Africa’s development. Come back to Africa with lots of ideas and confidence. Do not let anyone shut out the light in your ideas.”

Adesina emphasized the need for greater political accountability and better management of the continent’s resources, industry-led education system, lines of credit for women entrepreneurs, poverty eradication and pledged that the Bank would work with the Fellows to push their ideas through.

He stressed the place of innovative ideas for development: “Inside of you are great ideas. You have got visions. Don’t let anyone turn off the light on those ideas. Be tenacious in pushing your ideas through. The Bank will be there to support the business of young people.

“Africa has to develop with pride. The time for Africa is now. We are already late, Africa has to develop fast,” Adesina said.



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