Japa: The future of our youths not in Europe but in Nigeria – Adesina

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AfDB chief Akinwumi Adesina during his address at the 2023 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership in Lagos on Wednesday, March 6, 2024

African Development Bank (AfDB) chief Akinwumi Adesina says the future of the Nigerian youths does not lie in Europe, North America or anywhere else but in the West African country, here in the continent of Africa. The former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture stated this when he bagged the prestigious 2023 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership in Lagos on Wednesday.

Adesina, who spoke after serving and former African Presidents took turns to commend his outstanding leadership in Africa, said nations grow economically by keeping their best human capital at home and getting additional resource skills elsewhere. The 64-year-old statesman lamented the migration phenomenon known as Japa which has been popularised by Nigerian youths leaving the country in their droves for economic prosperity and job security in faraway Europe, the Americas, Asia and other parts of the world.

“While one might argue that our growing diaspora is good as they send back billions of dollars, higher than the oil revenue that we have, this is not the way to develop sustainably,” Adesina said in a room colourful graced with past and serving African leaders including the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan; Ethiopian President, Sahle-Work Zewde; Prime Minister of Togo, Victoire Tomegah Dogbé; President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria; and the President of the Union of the Comoros and the outgoing Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Azali Assoumani.

“Nations that develop do all they can to keep their best human capital at home and additional resource skills elsewhere, with flexible immigration and labour policies. We must make Nigeria a viable place for people to stay and not a place to run away from, the same applies to other countries,” said the AfDB chief who donned his signature bow tie.

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