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“Put education, the poor at the centre of development financing”

“Put education, the poor at the centre of development financing”

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The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, has challenged Africans and development experts to rethink development financing to reach the poorest communities on the continent in order to give them access to markets, education and healthcare.

Emir Sanusi who made this known in his keynote at the 21st Eminent Speakers Lecture Series of the African Development Institute at the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’lvoire stressed that “development needs to impact those at the bottom of the pyramid.”

According to a release by the AfDB, Sanusi is quoted saying: “And as Africans and policy makers, our mindset, our attitude and our approach to development needs to change.

“If you ask me whether the African Development Bank Group should invest in roads and railways in Kano, or invest in education, I would choose the latter.

“I would choose training the people so that they can become Engineers and build their own roads in future. l would train the girl child who would grow up to address the issues of contraception and control population growth.”

For the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, education and healthcare must be at the top of Africa’s development agenda, for and above investment in physical infrastructure, to better deal with issues like what he called the continent’s “looming demographic disaster”.

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He urged policy makers and multilateral finance institutions working in Africa to place vulnerable populations threatened by extreme poverty, social and economic inequality at the centre of their planning. Their projects, programs, policy and capacity support initiatives must also address poor nutrition, communities threatened by desertification, and reversing the scourge of under investment in social services like healthcare, housing and education.

“Africans must learn to think for themselves; We must learn to do development in ways that meet each country and each community at their levels of development.

“We must build roads that link poor farmers to the markets. We must integrate development within the socio-cultural and political realities of Africa,” Emir Sanusi added.

He called for increased investments in “soft infrastructure” whilst applauding the Banks current level of investments in hard infrastructure such as roads, ports, railways and power.

“There are many parts of Africa where basic needs are yet to be met, so development financing should be tailored to meet the basic needs of the poor those who live under a Dollar per day, and often die daily, because they lack access to basic amenities,” he said.

In his Welcome Address, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank said the Executive Directors and Management of the Bank were honored by the visit of the renowned monarch to the Bank to deliver the Eminent Speakers Lecture.

Adesina lauded the eminent speaker’s achievements in the fields of economics and public policy and reminded the audience of the Emir’s achievements as a former Central Bank Governor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Celestin Monga, Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management of the African Development Bank, announced that the Eminent Speakers Lecture Series is one of the most significant initiatives of the African Development Institute, the knowledge promotion and capacity development department of the foremostpan-African development institution.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice President of the Bank underscored the essence of the Emir’s presentation. “His Royal Highness has urged us all not to forget perhaps the important tenet of development financing, that development is first and foremost about the people. This is something to always remember.”


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