A $165 billion drop in Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) pushed 26 million people into poverty in 2020, African Development Bank (AfDP) President Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina has said.
The AfDB chief said the dwindling economic fortunes on the continent pushed 30 million people into unemployment within the period.
Dr. Adesina spoke at the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
Applauded by African leaders for effectively steering the continent safely from the harsh impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adesina cautioned against outsourcing security of the continent to foreigners.
He stressed the need for leaders to protect lives by building healthcare infrastructure and vaccine producing factories.
Adesina said: “It has been a global economic cyclone. Africa witnessed a decline in GDP growth of 2.1 per cent in 2020, its lowest in 20 years. Africa’s GDP fell by $165 billion. Over 30 million jobs were lost and over 26 million people fell into extreme poverty.
“I wish to commend the leadership efforts of the African Union, and our Heads of State and Government, for the critical roles you have played in dealing with the pandemic and the socio-economic challenges in its wake. Today, thanks to these efforts 11 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated, and another 16 per cent has been partially vaccinated.
“However, while developed countries have moved to booster shots, Africa is still struggling with basic shots.
“Your excellences, we must learn from this experience. Africa can no longer outsource the security of the lives of its 1.4 billion people to the benevolence of others. We must secure African lives!
“It is time for your excellences to build Africa’s healthcare defence system. This must be based on three strategic priorities. First, building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure. Second, building Africa’s pharmaceutical industry and third, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity.
“Africa needs $600 million to $1.3 billion to meet its goal of attaining 60 per cent vaccine production by 2040. Investing in health is investing in national security. The AfDB plans to invest $3 billion to support pharmaceutical and vaccines manufacturing capacity for Africa.
“To address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and support economic recovery, Africa will need some $484 billion over the next three years. To eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, the continent will need $414 – $784 billion per year.