Why AfDB unveiled $24 billion ATP scheme, by Adesina

 Akinwumi A. Adesina

Akinwumi A. Adesina

Poverty expands rapidly amid growth opportunities

The emergence of Africa Agricultural Transformation Programme (ATP), pioneered by African Development Bank (AfDB) has been described as a response to the rapidly increasing poverty level on the continent in recent years.

The $24 billion initiative, targeted Africa-wide, was scripted to ensure that the most vulnerable are reached with life-changing opportunities, thereby contributing to building resilient communities.

AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adesina, yesterday, made the disclosure at the launch of  “Africa Resilience Forum”, another initiative aimed at strengthening partnerships beyond aid coordination to effectively build resilience at community, country and regional level.

He said the development, which has created fragile economies in Africa, has also raised a triangular implications- the vicious cycle of rural poverty; youth unemployment; and climate change. He added that it could explode beyond measure without immediate intervention.

He said that while things have changed for better, when compared with decades ago, such improvements have not been evenly spread across the continent’s economies.

“Extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa declined by 28 per cent between 1990 and 2015. Economic policies, the business and investment environment, and political stability all improved across the region.

“Africa became a significant target for foreign direct investment, which rose from $42.8 billion in 2004-2008 to $66.5 billion in 2015. But not all countries were able to participate in this positive development,” he said.

According to him, AfDB has however noted that progress at country, regional and sub-national levels, showed variations and differences.

“Out of 26 countries considered fragile in the 1990s, only 11 countries are considered to have built resilience; nine did not make progress and six countries even deteriorated.

“After some gains after the 1990s, the number of fragile situations has been steadily increasing over recent years and developing to a regional dimension.

“The impact of fragility includes lives lost through conflict, rural poverty, and no employment for youth, increasing intra-societal divisions, and deteriorating infrastructure and natural resources, threatening to create a triangle of disaster.

Noting that poverty is becoming increasingly and disproportionally entrenched in fragile situations, the regional development bank said is the need to chart way forward in making the lives of the most vulnerable communities in Africa valuable, productive and meaningful.

“More than 65 per cent of rural communities depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Enhancing opportunities in agriculture therefore, create jobs and allow the emergence of SMEs through value adding activities, if the appropriate infrastructure is provided. This promotes inclusive development, which is the ultimate objective,” he added.

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