Monday, 27 May 2013

AfDB urges Africa to focus on economic transformation


Dr Kaberuka. Net Photo.
The first 50 years of Africa achieved political freedom and laid a basis for socio-economic development and it’s now time to focus on economic transformation, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank Group said on Saturday.

He was speaking at the 50th anniversary of the African Union in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.Kaberuka gave the dignitaries present, a profound look at Africa’s past and future trajectory for the next 50 years.

Africa’s GDP has increased from US$ 600 billion to US$ 2.2 trillion since the year 2000, he said, and the continent “now offers the highest risk adjusted return on investment… our economic managers are doing a reasonably good job navigating the difficult global economic slowdown”.

The AfDB president, together with a large number of African Heads of States, was joined by UN leader Ban Ki-moon, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and US Secretary of State John Kerry at 
the African Union headquarters on Saturday.

According to the statement, Kaberuka however, noted that despite strong economic growth, economic transformation remains a challenge for the continent.

He stated that “quality growth” of 7 per cent is what Africa needs for the decade to come, emphasising the importance of quality growth as one “which is not only strong, but sustainable, 
fair, addresses inequalities, and leaves no one behind”

On May 25, 1963, the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, or OAU, was established with the goal of forging a common identity for the continent as Europe’s colonial 
rule of Africa fell apart.

Since then, the African Union has shifted focus to an organisation spear-heading Africa’s development and integration. African solutions 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn noted that the ‘historic day marks not only a great leap forward in the Pan-Africanist quest for freedom, independence and unity but also the beginning of our collective endeavour for the realisations of Africa’s socio-economic emancipation.”

“When we talk about African solutions to African problems, it is because we know that we can only permanently silence the guns if we act in solidarity and unity,” said AU Commission chief 
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, adding that the continent had a “bright future”.

Kaberuka observed that Africa’s economic journey over the last fifty years has been a tortuous one with many achievements, but numerous setbacks.

In the quest for a prosperous Africa, Kaberuka outlined three things to take note of.

These include knowing that the world is now different from what it was in the last fifty years, the fact that institutions with global mandates, supposed to provide multilateral solutions are 
constrained by global politics and the fact that a number of key mega trends will influence the trajectory of Africa’s economies in the next half a century.

With the exception of countries at war, or emerging from war, economic performance has remained very strong.

Africa’s Economic performance is now back to the level it was in 2008. At the turn of the Millennium Africa’s GDP was 600 billion. Today it is 2.2 trillion.

Kaberuka noted that the continent now offers the highest risk adjusted return on investment.

“The world needs growth. But where will it come from? It will be Africa and the emerging markets,” he said, though warning that from whatever angle you look at it, Africa still faces 
myriads of problems.

“The journey is long. In some countries, absolute poverty is not declining fast enough.

Millions of our youth are entering the labour market each year, 14 million to be exact and cannot find a decent job.”

According to Kaberuka, economic growth is strong but economic transformation remains a challenge.


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