Reviewing the Africa Development Bank’s ‘High 5 for Africa’



By Kelvin Esiasa

The Africa Development Bank(AFDB) says it has come up with the ‘High 5 for Africa’ which are meant to promote the development of Africa. According  to AFDB, the ‘High 5 for Africa’ are also meant to accelerate and  raise organisation level of ambition for Africa.

The following are the ‘High 5 for Africa’;

  • The first high five is “Light up and power Africa” – AFDB has developed the New Deal on Energy for Africa to accelerate universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025. This is meant to solve Africa’s electricity challenge.
  • The second High 5 is “Feed Africa”. The Bank will accelerate support for massive agricultural transformation across Africa to fully unlock the potential of agriculture.
  • The third High 5 is to “Industrialize Africa”. The Bank will support private sector and financial market development for the rapid industrialization of Africa, and help Africa move to the top of global value chains.
  • The fourth High 5 is to “Integrate Africa”. The Bank will continue to invest heavily in high quality regional infrastructure especially rail, transnational highways, power interconnections, information and communications, air and maritime transport.
  • The fifth High 5 is to “Improve the quality of life for Africans”. The Bank will accelerate investments in urban infrastructure, public health and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, vocational training and skills development.

Looking at the ‘High 5 for Africa’, its true Africa need to spearhead its development agenda. However, there are many factors that AFDB should consider in order to  achieve the ‘High 5 for Africa’.

Firstly, Africa has to get its leadership right; lack of good leadership is the biggest problem in Africa. It will be difficult for AFDB to raise its ambition if the leaders that govern the continent are corrupt, greed and they are ‘economic vampires’.  So AFDB should promote good governance in Africa and encourage all countries to adhere to principles of good governance.

Secondly, there should be citizen engagement and empowerment; Africa is poor because its citizens are not engaged in the development  of the continent. Citizen engagement and empowerment refer to a condition in which every citizen has the means to actively engage in the public sphere, including political processes. Citizen engagement and Empowerment is important because it assists in alleviating poverty and promotes citizen driven initiatives.

This means that AFDB should be able to increase financial support and other developmental programmes to local communities so that development is people driven. AFDB  should also avoid  its past mistakes where it invested a lot of money in many African countries but its investment has not trickled to the the beneficiaries.

Thirdly, cluster Africa’s development; the effort to industrialize Africa should aim at clustering Africa into developmental zones. This would mean that African should be divided into its developmental  zones that are built on their natural resources. For example, West Africa should be supported in the areas of producing fuel for Africa and this oil should go to Africa , Southern African should be supported for Agriculture and produce food for Africa, Central Africa should be supported for minerals and produce mineral products for Africa and North Africa should be supported for machinery and technology advancements and produce equipment and technologies for Africa.

Lastly, invest in research and education; ADB and its collaborating partners should deliberately come up with initiatives that support researches and scholar conferences in Africa. It’s sad that Africa has no deliberate agenda to engage learning institutions in its causes.. This has led to a situation where Africa is a continent which is just consuming the researches done in the western world.

ADB should therefore, support activities that are aimed at collaborations among scholars in Africa.

Kelvin Esiasa – President for Zambian Society for Public Administration and Society for Family Business.


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