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AfDB President visits Ooni of Ife, Speaks on Effects of Russia-Ukraine’s War

By Gabriel Omonhinmin

The President of African Development Bank (AFDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, on Monday, 25th April 2022 paid Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi Ojaja II, a courtesy visit in his palace in Ile-Ife.

Adesina, who immediately went into a closed-door meeting with the Monarch in his palace, was said to have discussed with the Ooni on the need for him to mobilize his kingdom and the entire Yoruba race, to be prepared for the inevitability of a global food crisis.

The AfDB boss was said to have spoken extensively on the need for African countries to get their priorities right, especially now, that the continent has the most vulnerable countries and is hardest hit, by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, which the AfDB President stressed has impeded the economic and development progress in the Africa continent.

Adesina pointed out that Africa, with the lowest GDP growth rates, had lost as many as 30 million jobs on account of the recent pandemic.

He told the Ooni that the tripling costs of fertilizer, rising energy prices, and rising costs of food baskets, could worsen in Africa in the coming months. He explained further, that 90 percent of Russia’s 4 billion dollars exports to Africa in 2020 is made up of wheat; while 48 percent of the wheat valued at $3 billion U.S. dollars was also exported to the continent by Ukraine. These are the two countries that are presently at war, thus making it impossible for this food chain to continue. Ukraine, as AfDB President also pointed out, is the exporter of 31 percent of maize to African countries.

AfDB President, therefore cautioned that to fend off a food crisis in Africa, Africa must rapidly expand its food production. He stressed, “The African Development Bank (AfDB) is already active in mitigating the effects of a food crisis through the African Food Crisis Response and Emergency Facility – a dedicated facility being considered by the Bank to provide African countries with the resources needed to raise local food production and procure fertilizer.

“My basic principle is that Africa should not be begging. We must solve our own challenges ourselves without depending on others”.

The Ooni of Ife, in a brief remark, said “It is a priceless honour for me to welcome Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank to my palace in Ile-Ife. Dr Adesina is a true son of Oduduwa, an inestimable asset, a shining light of truth, patriotism, and a selfless hero of the Yoruba race.

“the amazing, candid, and high-quality conversations Adesina had with is really valuable, even though I spent an hour discussing with the AfDB boss, it was just like a 5 minutes talk since we had a lot of areas to cover.

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“as a son of Oduduwa saddled with the mission of safeguarding our ancestors’ legacy, Adesina spoke to me passionately and beautifully. As he saw the lingering food crisis from wheat production, soybeans and maize, which is part of the ripple effects of the Russia/Ukraine crisis. I must, therefore, commend your proactive initiatives for generating billions of dollars to assist agriculture as a massive social and economic footprint for Africans, particularly in Nigeria.” Ooni said.

“I admire your unwavering commitment to preserving African cultural values and economic dependence. Your significant and outstanding achievements have earned Africa a lot of respect as the world’s next economic frontier.” Ooni concludes.

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