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Economic Ideas: Osinbajo Stresses Need For Paradigm Shift

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SAN FRANCISCO, September 01, (THEWILL) – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has challenged Africans to rethink what he described as some of the time-worn economic ideas and myths that have held its people and policy makers bound to only a few options.

Speaking Tuesday in Abidjan at the investiture of the new African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Osinbajo called on Africans to develop “uncommon creativity, innovation and change” in charting the pathway for future growth and development of countries in the continent.

Justifying the call for this paradigm shift, the Vice President stated that western economies particularly the United States of America toed this path to emerge from its recent economic meltdown in 2008.

According to him, “in 2008 western economies faced with what Ben Bernanke (then Chairman of the US Reserve Bank) described as the “deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression,” abandoned conventional free-market thinking and embraced State-bankrolled stimulus plans to forestall the imminent collapse of their economies.”

He told several African and non African economists, policy makers, and development partners in attendance at the inauguration that the action the US took then “proved once and for all that the monster called the economy cannot be allowed to prowl the streets with its free-wheeling, free market struts without the leash of a trainer.”

Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, said African countries need a new strategy in the face of daunting challenges, asking “do African economies not require a different paradigm?.”

He quarried: “How can trickle down paradigms work when half our populations are extremely poor? Do we not need some attention to social investment?

He then declared that “Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest segments, universal primary healthcare schemes, school feeding programs, can energise local economies and create important multipliers in the economy.”

The Vice President however expressed optimism that the African Development Bank given its recent achievements under the immediate past President, Donald Kaberuka, can greatly assist Africa address some of its socio-economic problems.

He stated further that under the new leadership of Adesina, “the AfDB needs to redouble its efforts in addressing the needs of these fragile areas, through institutional support, emergency assistance, and bold pro-poor interventions in health, education and agriculture.”

Osinbajo therefore urged the new AfDB President “to focus on how economic policy can produce economic empowerment for women, and all categories of our people who have become disempowered and whose voices are seldom reflected in the rhetoric of policy.”

At the event, the new AfDB President, unfolded a 5-point agenda which he said would be given utmost priority in the next five years of his tenure.

In his inaugural statement delivered after he had taken the oath of office, Adesina listed the priority areas to include Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Integrate Africa; Industrialise Africa; and Improve quality of life for the people of Africa.

Adesina, who spoke passionately about his commitment towards confronting the numerous challenges facing the continent, said “unlocking the potentials of Africa for Africans will be our goal at AfDB.”

Present at the impressive ceremony were the President of Cote D'Ivoire, Allasane Quattara and his Prime Minister, Daniel Kaplan Duncan.

Other dignitaries from Nigeria also included the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Umar Ganduje; the Governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku; the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele; former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cote D’Ivoire, Mrs. Ifeoma J. Akabogu Chinwuba.

Many captains of industry in Nigeria and around the continent also graced the event alongside some members of the National Assembly.

Adesina, Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Agriculture, becomes the 8th President of the AfDB and the first Nigerian to occupy the office since the creation of the Bank in 1963. He took over from Donald Kaberuka who served for 10 years from 2005 to 2015.