Africa poised to become global economic powerhouse, says Adesina

By Innocent Raphael

The President, African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has said Africa’s economic potential makes it impossible to ignore and positions it as a pivotal player on the global stage.

Speaking recently at Chatham House in London, Adesina addressed a diverse audience of diplomats, investors, academics, politicians, and media, highlighting the continent’s untapped potential and abundant opportunities.

In his presentation, “Envisioning Africa’s Economic Prospects,” Adesina detailed his optimism for Africa, describing it as a land of tremendous opportunities.

He pointed to the continent’s young and vibrant workforce, vast renewable energy resources, rich biodiversity, rapid regional integration, and innovative solutions as key drivers of its economic potential.

“Africa can no longer be ignored. I fully expect Africa to be the pivotal continent in the world, given its economic prospects,” Adesina asserted.

He highlighted the resilience of Africa’s economies despite global challenges, noting that it remains the second-fastest-growing region after Asia. According to the AfDB’s African Economic Outlook Report, the continent’s economy is projected to grow by 3.7% in 2024, increasing to 4.3% in 2025.

The report, launched at the AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Nairobi, revealed that 15 African countries achieved real growth rates of at least 5%, with half of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies located in Africa.

Adesina acknowledged that achieving sustained economic growth and resilience requires overcoming significant challenges, including climate change and rising debt, and implementing critical global financial reforms.

“Unlocking Africa’s economic prospects requires structural change, increasing agricultural productivity, improving electricity supply, accelerating infrastructure investments, promoting digitalization, creating economic and job opportunities for women and youth, and driving industrialization through greater private sector mobilization,” he said.

Despite issues such as youth unemployment, poverty, debt vulnerability, and political instability, Adesina dispelled the perception of Africa as a high-risk investment destination.

He further cited a 14-year Moody’s Analytics study showing Africa’s low infrastructure loan default rate of 1.9%, compared to rates of 4.6% to 12.4% in other regions.

Adesina also reiterated the AfDB’s call for an independent African credit rating agency to address misperceptions that lead to underinvestment due to excessive risk premiums.

He quoted the United Nations Development Program, which estimates that fairer credit ratings could save African countries at least $75 billion annually in debt service payments.

“The trajectory for Africa will be much stronger as we tackle these challenges, improve security, and expand concessional and private sector financing,” Adesina emphasized.

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