In a compelling address at the Second Veritas University Digital Innovations Exhibition and 12th Convocation Lecture, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, called on African leaders to confront the challenge of brain drain by creating quality jobs for the continent’s burgeoning youth population.
Expressing concern over the ‘Japa’ syndrome, where Nigeria is losing its brightest minds to migration, Adesina emphasized the need to transform the vast youth demographic into an asset rather than a liability.
He was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree during the event.
Adesina announced Nigeria’s inclusion among ten African countries set to benefit from the AfDB’s ambitious $20 billion Desert-to-Power initiative.
The initiative aims to develop 10 gigawatts of solar power, making it the world’s largest solar zone upon completion. Other beneficiary countries include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Eritrea, and Senegal.
In a strategic move, Adesina declared Veritas University a Centre of Excellence for Computer Coding for Employment as part of the AfDB’s commitment to fostering technological empowerment.
Addressing the graduates on the theme “Africa, It’s Your Time,” Adesina emphasized the abundance of bankable ideas rather than a lack of funds in Africa.
He encouraged the new workforce to leverage technology and artificial intelligence for creative solutions, highlighting the immense opportunities in smart and digital economies.
Expressing a personal commitment to stem the exodus of young Africans seeking opportunities abroad, Adesina underscored the need for bold industrial actions to expand the economy, create jobs, and provide quality employment for the youth.
Adesina lamented that while Africa boasts abundant reserves of valuable resources, including cobalt, lithium, diamonds, cocoa, nickel, copper, platinum, and uranium, these resources are often exported without undergoing local refinement and processing.
He stressed the urgency of converting these resources into wealth within the continent.
The Vice Chancellor of Veritas University, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Ichoku, highlighted the institution’s significant growth, with undergraduate enrollment surging from 1,200 in 2018 to over 6,000.
Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, urged graduates to be exemplary ambassadors and announced a donation of N3 million to three students who presented innovative ideas during the convocation.
Dr. Adesina’s impassioned call for African leaders to prioritize job creation and harness the potential of the continent’s youth resonates as a critical imperative in addressing brain drain and fostering sustainable development.
The spotlight on technological empowerment and the ambitious Desert-to-Power initiative adds a dimension of hope for a brighter future on the African continent.
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