The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has called on African leaders to create quality jobs for their teeming unemployed youths, to stem the trend of brain drain bedevilling the continent.
Adesina said in Abuja on Friday at the Second Veritas University Digital Innovations Exhibition and 12th Convocation Lecture, that Nigeria was losing its best brains to Japa syndrome.
The former Minister of Agriculture, who spoke on the convocation lecture theme: ” Africa, It’s Your Time”, tasked Nigeria to turn its huge youth demography into an asset and not a liability.
The former Minister of Agriculture who was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree by the institution, announced that Nigeria had been listed among 10 other African countries to benefit from the Bank’s $20 billion Desert-to-Power initiative.
He noted that the power project was conceived to develop 10 GW of solar power, being the largest solar zone in the world when completed.
He listed other countries to benefit from the initiative as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Eritrea, and Senegal.
He also announced AfDB’s adoption of the Veritas University as a Centre of Excellence for Computer Coding for Employment.
“What Africa lacks is not money. What Africa lacks is lack of bankable ideas. Remember, money will always follow great ideas,” he said.
“As you join the workforce, technology and Artificial Intelligence will play a big role in your lives and in your enterprises.
“I expect to see many of you provide creative solutions to many of our challenges through analytics and data aggregation. There are huge opportunities in smart and digital economies of the future.
“All this matter to me personally because I do not want to see the continued exodus of young people who risk their lives to dangerously cross land and sea to go to Europe at all cost.
“The fastest way for Nigeria to dramatically expand the wealth of its economy, create jobs and provide decent work opportunity for its youth is to implement bold, effort-oriented, industrial manufacturing actions.
“This will rapidly expand foreign exchange earnings, boost income per capita and provide quality and well-paying jobs for millions of its young people,” he added.
Adesina charged the youth, both in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, to dream again while urging Africa to make us of the largest reserves of cobalt, lithium, diamonds, cocoa, nickel, copper, platinum and uranium in the world.
According to him, those resources could boast of 65 per cent of the world’s arable land and the largest deposit of solar potentials but has not materialised into wealth for the continent.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku, revealed that the institution’s undergraduate enrollment had increased from 1,200 in 2018 to over 6,000.
Also, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of the institution, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah urged the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the institution.
Kukah, in a bid to give back to the institution, announced a donation of N3 million to three students who demonstrated their ideas to the gathering.