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It’s time to create youth-based wealth in Lagos – Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has said the greater wealth of Lagos will come from youth.

Adesina said this on Tuesday, during his opening remarks at the ongoing Lagos ‘Ehingbeti’ Economic Summit.

The AfDB president said Nigerian youth are not the problem of the country, neither are they a risk, but they are of great asset with potential to attract investments to boost growth in the economy. 

“If you are looking for a place to invest in Africa, think Lagos. According to UN, Lagos will become the third largest consumer market on the world within the next decade,” he said.

“The greater wealth of Lagos will come from the youth of Lagos.

“Today, almost two-third of Lagos population is below 30 years. Lagos should target how to take advantage of this huge demographic and turn it into wealth for Lagos. 

“The youth are not the problems of Lagos but the assets of Lagos. It’s time to create youth-based wealth in Lagos state.

“The dominant phrase should not be the young shall grow but now, the young has arrived. 

“There must be a generational shift and also a wealth shift by unlocking the potentials of the youth. 

“We must not see the youth as risks but we must see them as assets.” He gave instances of Andela, that attracted $24 million from Facebook; Stripe’s $200 million investment in Paystack; and $400 million in three Fintech companies in one week in 2019.

“These signals the potential of youth in Lagos in attracting investment in global digital finance and financial services,” he said.

“The youth do not need empowerment, because most people who claim to empower youth are actually empowering themselves. The youth do not need hand outs, they need investment. 

“The Bank will put its capital at risks for the future of youth in Africa and it’s a risks worth taking.”

Adesina further said asides from investing in the youth, Lagos state government should also invest in providing decent and affordable housing for low income people in terms of roads, water, electricity, sewage systems and waste disposal, rather than on slum upgrades.

He said the development of Lagos, which is the future of state lies in becoming a climate sparked, green and resilient. 

“There is a need to invest in greening the transport systems to reduce pollution, and more efficient,” he said. 

“Lagos should be turned into a smart city to enhance security and compose attractiveness for investors, adding that this can be achieved through the AfCFTA.”

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