Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says the organisation alongside the Global Center on Adaptation will launch a $1 billion climate adaptation initiative for African youths.
Adesina made the announcement on Sunday at the African Climate Youth Assembly held ahead of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.
He said the initiative, tagged the ‘Youth Adapt’, will provide seed financing for ideas and businesses led by young people.
The AfDB president said the programme has in the past funded over 33 businesses of African youths across 19 countries, adding that some of the businesses have further expanded and recorded over 200 percent profit.
“The African Development Bank together with the Global Centre on Adaptation, we have a programme that’s called Youth Adapt,” he said.
“We actually have been financing this, we put in $4 million into this, supporting ideas and businesses of young people. Basically seed financing and eventually if those businesses then work, then they are able to get a little bit more financing and eventually, they get a growth capital to grow their businesses.
“We’ve done I think in 33 businesses in 19 countries. And I can tell you that those businesses, they’ve increased their profit by 200 percent; 20 percent of them are expanding their business into other parts of Africa.
“And one thing I like to say here, Mr. President, is that from the African Development Bank, and from the Global Center and Adaptation, we are determined to do exactly what they say is taking to scale, put our monies there.
“So I’m very pleased to announce to you today and I will say at the main plenary, that the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation will launch a $1 billion Youth Adapt initiative that would provide seed financing. It will also provide growth capital for big businesses that will come out of that. That is a big thing for the young people of Africa.”
Kenyan President Willaim Ruto, who was also at the conference, promised young people that he would continue to invest in their future.
He said that as a young continent, Africa’s largest shareholders remain the youths and investing in their education and green skills will ensure that they are able to articulate issues and drive the growth of the continent.
He called on African leaders to “invest in our young people so that they are ready to tackle the challenges of the future”.