I see my role as delivering hope for millions of people – Adesina


By Lucy Ogalue

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says he sees his role as the Bank’s President as delivering hope for millions of people.

Adesina made the remark while addressing Class of 2023 at Calvin University, Michigan, USA.

He said: “In the past seven years, our work has impacted the lives of 350 million people. I am excited that we have helped to connect 20 million people to electricity.

“On a field trip to one of the project villages in Kenya not too long ago, I met one of our beneficiaries. Her name is Grace. She was very excited.

“When she was asked whether she knew AfDB President (that is myself), she said, I do not know the President, I do not even know the AfDB; all I know is that we once were in darkness, now we have light!”

“That is a lesson there! Let your works and good deeds impact the lives of people, especially those who will never know you.”

According to Adesina, the bank is building a Desert to Power initiative, a 25 billion dollars investment to harness the power of the sun and deliver electricity for 250 million people.

He said when completed, it would be the largest solar zone in the world, adding that ”it will be a spark of hope for millions more like Grace”.

Adesina said: “Class of 2023, the present and the future belong to your generation. Your creativity and dynamism will make a difference for good.

“In front of me today, I see builders and shapers of hope. You have been well prepared to go into the world to be the change makers. You have received a world class education.

“You have been exposed to great ideas, and you’ve worked alongside faculty and students from all around the world.

“You are ready and the world awaits you! A world that faces new challenges, many of them happening simultaneously.”

Adesina said top among the challenges was climate change, which posed an existential risk for the world.

“We must do all we can to keep global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“We need innovations to power the world better with renewable energy.

”We must do all to feed the world. It is not acceptable that over 2.3 billion people in the world go hungry. There must be a hunger free world,” he said.

The AfDB boss said the COVID-19 pandemic taught us the importance of global pandemic preparedness and the need to ensure access to affordable health care for all.

He said a lot was needed to ensure peace in our world with rising geopolitical tensions and fragilities.

“Regardless of ones’ economic, social, or racial background, we must create a level playing field for a more just, fair, and equitable world.

“More than ever, the world needs change makers. Change makers who can carry the love of God into a turbulent world. Change makers with a heart.

“You have a role to play in this unfolding chapter of history. With God’s help and grace, I am confident that you will stand out and do exploits that will make our world a better place,” he said. (NAN)