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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

No excuse for poverty: Africa has what it needs

Africa's natural resources and youth potential should lift its people out of poverty, says African Development Bank chief.

The chief of the African Development Bank (ADB) has called Africans to hold their governments accountable for poverty because the continent has no reason to be poor, with its $6.2 trillion (about R116 trillion) worth of natural resources and an abundance of arable land.

ADB group president Dr Akinwumi Adesina, speaking in Lagos, Nigeria, this week said the continent must look inward to solve its many challenges.

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Africa could play a leading role in resolving, not only its own challenges, but global ones. “While we must deal with bread-and-butter development issues, we must think strategically as we set ourselves on a path to becoming wealthy nations,” he said.

“Our countries must become great contributors to global wealth and development financing for others.” He was optimistic about Nigeria and Africa.

“Africa needs the right policies, investments, infrastructure, logistics and financing… “We must make sure that this is driven by a highly skilled, dynamic and youthful workforce,” he said.

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But economists have pointed to weak institutions as one of the reasons Africa lagged behind the rest of the world.

They cited a lack of skills and poor or no infrastructure as important issues which caused Africa not to progress economically.

Adesina urged citizens to hold governments accountable for poverty. With its natural resources, 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land and a vibrant youth population, Africa has no excuse.

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“Our governments must realise their responsibility to lift people out of poverty and into wealth as quickly as possible. It is doable,” Adesina said.

“If we manage our natural resources well, Africa has no reason to be poor. “We simply need to pull up our socks, stamp out corruption and manage our resources in the interest of our countries and our people.”

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