AfDB’s High 5s: A game changer in Africa’s development discourse
In his inaugural address on September 1, 2015, the eighth elected President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, set down a new agenda for the Bank Group, building on its existing 2013-2022 Strategy. In his speech, he outlined the five development priorities for the institution. The High 5s are to: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa. These focus areas are essential in transforming the lives of the African people and therefore consistent with the United Nations agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2013, the African Development Bank’s Board approved a Ten Year Strategy covering the period 2013-2022, entitled At the Center of Africa’s Transformation (TYS). The overarching twin objectives of the TYS are the achievement of inclusive growth and the transition to green growth through five operational priorities: infrastructure development, regional economic integration, private sector development, governance and accountability, and skills and technology. In addition, the TYS highlights three areas of special emphasis: gender, fragile states, and agriculture and food security.
In September 2015, world leaders agreed to an ambitious set of Sustainable Development Goals, with the objective of eliminating extreme poverty from the planet by 2030. A few months later, at the Twenty First United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, an equally ambitious agreement on Climate Change was reached. To respond to this ambitious development mandate, the global community has tasked the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to significantly scale up their activities by leveraging and crowding in financial resources and moving from “billions to trillions”, as was articulated during the UN Financing for Development conference held in July 2015.
These ambitious development goals will only be realized if they can be achieved in Africa. The Bank is responding to the challenge of supporting inclusive growth and the transition to green growth by scaling up investment and implementation of the TYS by focusing on five priority areas, referred to as the High 5s.