By Gift Briton

Over the last five decades, African Development Bank(AfDB) has delivered 116 projects worth $3.47 billion to Senegal, with the latest project being the Regional Express Train launched in December last year.

Speaking at the state house in Dakar, where he received visiting AfDB’s head Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President Macky Sall commended the continent’s premiere bank for its continued commitment in promoting development in the country.

“African Development Bank-funded projects are in line with our own development strategy. Your bank understands the needs of Senegal,” President Sall said.

Senegal has made impressive achievements since President Sall took over the helm of leadership. With the support from AfDB, he has been able to deliver major projects in various sectors such as agriculture, social, energy and transport.

The two leaders also agreed to convene a youth entrepreneur’s forum to address the needs of the growing youth population in Africa as well as to mobilize support for establishment of youth investment bank.

“The structure of the current financial system does not allow young entrepreneurs to easily obtain credit that is necessary to start up and grow their businesses,” Dr. Adesina said. “This is why I am proposing that we hold an investment forum for young Africans, here in Dakar, to discuss a mechanism to finance their businesses.”

He commended a youth lead initiative called Delegation for Rapid Entrepreneurship for Women and Youth which implemented several projects successfully after receivng funding from the Bank.

The initiative was able to produce a wide variety of food products including rice and other cereals, and created jobs for more than 60,000 young people and women in various parts of Senegal.

According to Dr. Adesina, Africa is developing because of the commitment of women who fight every day to feed their families, adding that this is the reason he created the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa(AFAWA) program to mobilize $5 billion to support women’s promotion and entrepreneurship projects.

The two leaders attributed the challenges facing Africa to insecurity in some parts of the continent, rising levels of debt and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed lives and adversely affected business, resulting in lost jobs and livelihoods.

“The pandemic is having a devastating effect on our economies. It’s clear we need a financial mechanism to stabilize economies when faced with challenges such as Covid19 pandemic. In Africa we are yet to develop affordable social support networks to keep businesses running and people in their jobs, the way America and countries in Europe did,” said President Sall.

Finally, Dr. Adesina called on the private sector to work closely with the government through Public Private Partnership to accelerate development in the country saying that 90% of the funding by the AfDB are mainly in the public sector.