Stakeholders are putting heads together to establish Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks in the countries of Africa.
The banks will form new financial institutions, run by young, professional, and highly competent financial experts and bankers, to develop and deploy new financial products and services for businesses and ventures of young people.
“Several African countries have already indicated their readiness to establish Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.”
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akiwunmi Adesina, who dropped the hint today in Abuja, Nigeria, said that time had come when African governments “must unleash the potential of the youth.”
He said that today in Nigeria, over 75 percent of the population is under the age of 35 and that more decisive actions are needed to turn this demographic asset into an economic dividend.
“A young, productive, youthful population, with access to education, skills, social protection, affordable housing, and medical care, will power Nigeria’s economy, now and well into the future.
“We must move away from so-called ‘youth empowerment programs.’ The youth do not need handouts. They need investments.
“That is why the African Development Bank is currently working with Central Banks and countries to design and support the establishment of Youth entrepreneurship investment banks.”
Dr. Adesina said that Nigeria should make its youth the drivers of the new economy through the creation of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks, that put new financial ecosystems around them to fully unleash their potential.
On the industries that will dominate the future, Adesina said it is the FinTech industry.
According to him, by 2030, 650 million Africans will have smart phones, and 50 million will have 5G phone networks. Digital payments, mobile money accounts, savings, credit, and money transfers will revolutionize businesses.
“Nigeria’s FinTech is surging as one the leaders in Africa today. Google recently announced plans to invest $1 billion in Africa.
“That tells you something: they see the demographic and mobile tech growth and how this will rapidly change the future of e-commerce, trade, health, and finance.”
He said that the African Development Bank will support the Federal Government efforts, being led by Vice President Osinbajo, on the Digital Nigeria.
“The Bank is preparing investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) program, a $600 million investment to be co-financed with several partners, which will promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industries.
“Nigeria should take the FinTech industry as a major driver of the economy and invest heavily in digital infrastructure.
“An economically resurgent Nigeria must be a more peaceful and secure Nigeria. “Today, more than ever, several African countries are spending a significant share of their budgets on security, displacing the resources needed for development.
“Increasingly, the investible space in many parts of Africa, including Nigeria, is shrinking due to insecurity and insurgencies.
“Yet, resources are not there to enable countries to cope with these rising challenges. We must recognize the strong linkages between security, investment, growth, and development.
That is why the African Development Bank is working on developing Security-Indexed Investment Bonds to help African countries and Regional Economic Communities to mobilize resources to tackle these challenges.
“The Security-Indexed Investment Bonds will raise funds on the global capital markets to support countries to upgrade their security architecture, rebuild damaged infrastructure in conflict-affected areas, rebuild social infrastructure and protect zones where there are strategic investments.
Here is the lesson: without security there cannot be investment, without investment there cannot be growth, and without growth there cannot be development.
“The African Development Bank stands ready to help Nigeria in the design and implementation of Security-Indexed Investment Bonds to raise more resources to tackle its security challenges.”