The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Center on Adaptation will initiate a $1 billion climate adaptation initiative for African youth, according to AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina.
Adesina made the announcement on Sunday at the African Climate Youth Assembly, which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, prior to the Africa Climate Summit.
The initiative, dubbed “Youth Adapt,” will provide seed funding for ideas and enterprises led by young people, according to him.
The AfDB president said the programme has in the past funded over 33 businesses of African adolescents across 19 countries, adding that some of the businesses have further expanded and recorded over 200 percent profit.
“The African Development Bank and the Global Centre on Adaptation have created a program called Youth Adapt,” he explained.
“We have actually financed this, investing $4 million to support the ideas and enterprises of young people. Essentially, seed financing, and if those businesses succeed, they are able to obtain a bit more funding, and eventually, growth capital to expand their enterprises.
“I believe we’ve completed 33 businesses in 19 nations. And I can tell you that their profits have increased by 200 percent, and that twenty percent of them are expanding into other regions of Africa.
“And one thing I’d like to emphasize here, Mr. President, is that the African Development Bank and the Global Center for Adaptation are committed to doing exactly what they say is scaling up, putting our money there.
The African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation will establish a $1 billion Youth Adapt initiative to provide seed funding. I will make this announcement at the main plenary. It will also provide growth capital for the large companies that will emerge as a result. This is significant for the youth of Africa.”
President Willaim Ruto of Kenya, who was also present at the conference, pledged to continue investing in the youth’s future.
As a young continent, he said, Africa’s largest shareholders are the youth, and investing in their education and green skills will ensure that they can articulate issues and drive the continent’s development.
He urged African leaders to “invest in our youth so that they are prepared to face the future’s challenges.”