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Akinwumi Adesina urges African leaders to tackle brain drain

He noted that Africa's challenge lies not in a lack of funds but in the absence of bankable ideas.

African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina (NAN)

Speaking at the Second Veritas University Digital Innovations Exhibition and 12th Convocation Lecture in Abuja on Friday, December 08, 2023, Adesina expressed concern about the "Japa syndrome" that is causing a significant loss of Nigeria's best brains to foreign countries.

During the convocation lecture themed "Africa, It’s Your Time," Adesina stated the need for Nigeria to transform its substantial youth population into an asset rather than a liability. He was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree by the institution during the event. Adesina disclosed that Nigeria, along with 10 other African countries, would benefit from the AfDB's $20 billion Desert-to-Power initiative.

The ambitious power project aims to develop 10 GW of solar power, establishing the largest solar zone globally upon completion. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Eritrea, and Senegal were also listed as beneficiaries of the initiative.

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Addressing the gathering, Adesina declared Veritas University as a Centre of Excellence for Computer Coding for Employment, reinforcing the AfDB's commitment to fostering technological advancement on the continent.

He noted that Africa's challenge lies not in a lack of funds but in the absence of bankable ideas, urging the youth to harness technology and artificial intelligence for innovative solutions.

Adesina passionately stated, "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."

He proposed that Nigeria could spur economic growth and provide employment opportunities by implementing bold industrial manufacturing actions.

Encouraging the youth to dream big, Adesina called on Africa to leverage its abundant resources, including cobalt, lithium, diamonds, cocoa, nickel, copper, platinum, and uranium.

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Despite possessing 65% of the world's arable land and the largest deposit of solar potentials, he lamented that these resources have not translated into wealth for the continent.

Meanwhile, Prof Hyacinth Ichoku, the Vice Chancellor of Veritas University, revealed a significant increase in undergraduate enrollment from 1,200 in 2018 to over 6,000. Most Rev Matthew Kukah, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of the institution, urged graduating students to be ambassadors of the university.

In a generous gesture, Kukah announced a donation of ₦3 million to three students who showcased outstanding ideas during the event.

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