Average age of farmers on the continent currently at 60 years and Africa hoping to feed itself and eradicate malnutrition by 2025, African Development Bank as part of its goal to see a generational shift in agriculture on the continent, has brought its ‘Farming is Cool’ initiative to school children in Nigeria.
The Bank has also launched a Junior Art Contest in the country to promote the potential of agriculture to secondary school children. President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, presented prizes to the three winners from the month-long contest at the commissioning of the Nigeria office building of the Bank in Abuja. The winners received partial scholarships of 1,000,000 Naira, 500,000 Naira and 250,000 Naira as first, second and third place prizes, respectively.
Speaking at the event, Senior Director of the Nigeria Country Department at the Bank, Ebrima Faal said: “The art competition was conducted to sow a seed of awareness in young minds of the significance and potential of agriculture in the development of a nation’s economy.
“The Farming is Cool campaign strives to flip the script on farming as a last resort by emphasizing and promoting it as a viable wealth-creation option. It targets youth and children to encourage positive thought and action towards an agricultural revolution,” he added.
AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its ‘Feed Africa Strategy with planned investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years. The goals of the strategy are to help eliminate extreme poverty in Africa by 2025; end hunger and malnutrition in Africa by 2025; make Africa a net food exporter, and move Africa to the top of export-orientated global value chains where it has comparative advantage.
The strategy includes agricultural finance models that will benefit youth, as well as other groups. It will rely on the ‘jobs for youth in Africa strategy’ to increase the representation of youth in agriculture and agribusiness and equip them with the necessary skills to be successful.
The Nigeria regional office building of the Bank is a consolidation of the country’s position as the Bank’s largest shareholder since inception. The state-of-the-art office complex, situated in the Central Business District of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is the first permanent structure to be designed and constructed in any regional member country of the Bank.
According to Nigeria Minister of Finance, who also double as Governor of the African Development Bank, Kemi Adeosun, the complex would boost Nigeria’s efforts and plans for regional integration in the West African region.
She said, “We think being the largest shareholder of the Bank since inception, and the country with one of the largest portfolio of its projects, Nigeria, is the natural and logical place for the Bank’s regional hub. The signaling effect of that singular act gave the country’s foreign reserves the much-needed boost, which helped stabilized the Nigerian currency – the Naira.”
“The Afriππcan Development Bank has proved to be quite dependable in Nigeria’s ongoing economic reforms and also ticks all the right boxes of strengthening our recovery efforts,” she added.