We have the same problems, but whatever we have, the urgency is much greater – Blair
Agriculture offers Africa its best opportunity for industrialization … the key is how does Africa increase productivity, develop the integrated technology in rural areas? – Adesina
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the challenges and opportunities of Africa’s development landscape, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Monday in a lecture organized by the African Development Institute in Abidjan.
“We have the same problems, but what we also have is much more urgent … not so much a wake-up call, but a wake-up call,” Blair said.
The former British Prime Minister addressed a virtual audience on the topic of Building Back Better in Post COVID-19 Africa: The Role of Technology and Governance, as part of the Kofi A. Annan lecture series. Launched in 2006 by the African Development Bank’s African Development Institute, the series covers a range of topics related to Africa and global development, including economics, finance, regional integration, human development and the environment. The lectures were a forum for leading figures to share policy insights on development challenges in Africa.
More than 4,500 delegates from around the world, including government officials, governors and executive directors of the banking group, the senior management of the bank and leading experts and heads of institutions set up for the lecture.
Rabah Arezki, chief economist and vice-president for economic management and knowledge management of the Bank, described in the opening words the task ahead as ‘big and challenging’.
In his first virtual lecture, Blair outlined three aspects that he said would make a huge difference for Africa: investing in industrialization, accelerating technological innovations and building capacity for institutions to get things done. “There are components to the Bank’s Top 5 priorities. All the things that define the challenges that Africa has – all of these things are now being added by Covid and its impact,” Blair said.
To rebuild better, for example, West Africa can use its rich cotton source for clothing production and the textile industry. Elsewhere on the continent, Africa has already been at the forefront of expanding digital technology.
“Around the world, you see governments using technology effectively … I know this is a huge ambition of the African Development Bank. It is critical,” Blair said.
Blaire emphasized the four Ps of government delivery – prioritization, policy, personnel and performance management. In prioritizing, Mr. Blair called on African governments to identify and concentrate their comparative advantages, … and focus on delivery … focus on key transformative projects and manage expectations.
“Ultimately … only Africa can do that … we are partners in Africa’s story … in the progress of Africa,” Blair said.
Blair’s speech was followed by a discussion with Akinwumi Adesina, president of the banking group, who said that the lecture series brings global and national perspectives on the development issues discussed.
“We must constantly push the boundaries of dialogue in the public sphere,” Adesina said. “Nothing is more relevant today than the challenges facing COVID-19. The pandemic has boosted economic growth.” Mr Adesina remarked.
Adesina agrees with mr. Blair on the importance of the delivery culture and says that agriculture offers Africa its best opportunity for industrialization. “The key is: how does Africa increase productivity in agriculture … how does it develop the integrated infrastructure in those rural areas … that enables the creation of new economic resources of prosperity from what it has?” Vra Adesina.
Although the TAAT initiative Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (Bank for Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation) has enabled it to reach millions of farmers with agricultural technology and increase yields in wheat, it is still necessary to scale up. “We have a lot of pilots … The name of the game is to scale,” Adesina said.
Adesina cited other key interventions by the Bank, including a $ 10 billion COVID-19 response facility to provide budget support to African countries and its innovative $ 3 billion COVID-19 social bond to save lives.
After stepping down, Blair launched the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which addresses some of the most difficult challenges in the world today, mainly in three areas: supporting governments to deliver effectively for their people , and work for peace in the Middle East. , and the fight against extremism.
Prof. Kevin Urama, senior director of the ADI, said after the seminar that the priorities were well mapped for Africa to build better. The African Development Institute (ADI) has been at the forefront of accelerating capacity development, technical assistance and policy dialogue on the continent.
Amba Mpoke-Bigg, African Development Bank, Department of Communications and External Relations, African Development Bank, Email: email@example.com
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