African leaders must change from youth empowerment to entrepreneurship and investment, the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has said.
Youth empowerment is a euphemism for the practice of providing young people with starter-packs and other forms of support to learn basic trades and small businesses.
Speaking at the 2019 Tony Eluemlu Foundation Entrepreneurship Leadership Forum in Abuja on Saturday, Mr Adesina called on African leaders to consider changing to youth entrepreneurship and investment.
He said the new focus wouldallow them to mobilise the teeming population of youth in Africa, train them on entrepreneurial skills and expose them to decent investment capitals to enable them to establish businesses that will create jobs and grow the continent’s economy.
He challenged African governments to consider setting up a Youth Entrepreneurship and Investment Bank that would guarantee risk-free capital for young African entrepreneurs to establish and run businesses to create jobs.
Mr Adesina criticised the leaders of not doing enough to empower the youth, saying the time has come for them to make the youth the focus of their socio-economic development strategy in Africa.
“About 22 countries in Africa are growing at the moment at the rate of over 5 per cent per annum,” he said. “But, such growth rate does not tell the entire story about the continent’s prosperity and growth.
“Growth has to be one that creates jobs for the teeming youth population in Africa. We must begin to look for growth among the young people who will constitute 40-50billion of the world’s population by 2050.
“It is time for African leaders to begin to change from youth empowerment to youth investment. Our governors are not doing enough for the youth. They can begin to set youth entrepreneurship and investment bank.”