31 Oct 2012 08:00 Africa/Lagos
African leaders urged to invest in jobs, infrastructure and protecting development gains
The title for this year's African Economic Conference will be “Inclusive and Sustainable Development in an Age of Economic Uncertainty”
KIGALI, October 31, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Opening an unprecedented gathering of experts here, present and former African Heads of State urged business, community and political leaders to help turn the continent's impressive growth into economic opportunities for ordinary citizens.
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Rwandan President Paul Kagame, inaugurating the country's first African Economic Conference (http://www.africaneconomicconference.org), said, “In Rwanda, we understand that politics and economics go hand in hand and we have made a conscious and deliberate choice of inclusive development based on our political reality. By and large, they have produced positive results. Growth has been consistent and poverty levels considerably reduced by 12 per cent from 56.9 per cent to 44 per cent in five years.”
Organized each year by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the title for this year's African Economic Conference will be “Inclusive and Sustainable Development in an Age of Economic Uncertainty”.
Africa has weathered the economic crisis and achieved considerable advances in the area of poverty reduction and human development. However, the region is still home to high levels of poverty, hunger, unemployment and inequality in political voice and access to resources.
“Over the first decade of this century, with the exception of 2008, Africa experienced exceptional economic performance and growth in GDP per capita,” said Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator. “But there is a way to go in many countries to translate that growth into higher human development. Deliberate policy measures and targeted investments are needed to make growth not just fast, but also inclusive and sustainable.”
Participants on the opening day said that the key issue for the continent was to shift from commodity-based to innovative, diversified economies at a time when foreign direct investment, aid and remittances were drying up.
Donald Kaberuka, the President of the African Development Bank, underscored the need for long-term solutions. He suggested that Africa's growth should include doing research on solutions on how African countries could internally finance their development, and learning from what has gone wrong globally to redesign their policies.
Africa must invest in quality education in order to stop children from inheriting poverty from generation to generation, said Kaberuka.
“This is how you stop children from inheriting living conditions of debt, and once you do that you have stopped the transmission of poverty,” he told an opening session.
“Inclusive development must include equity, equality, popular participation not only in politics but also in the economy itself and then of course there must be transparency, and all those things that make the governed believe and have confidence in those who govern them,” added the Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Participants at the conference also said that protecting communities from food and fuel price volatility, climate change and political instability required putting in place bold measures for social protection, including insurance, credit and employment schemes.
The African Economic Conference is organized as a series of open thematic debates, combined with sessions that review policy research from across the continent. The conference provides a uniquely open forum for political leaders, academics and emerging talent from the continent to discuss solutions to Africa's pressing development issues.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the African Development Bank.
The full event programme is available at: http:// www.africaneconomicconference.org.
About the African Economic Conference (http://www.africaneconomicconference.org): The main objective of the Conference is to provide a platform for experts on Africa, both within and outside the continent, to reflect and discussnew directions for growth policy on the continent in order to determine the best approaches to attain the Millennium Development Goals, achieve the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and accelerate Africa's sustainable development. For more information: http://www.africaneconomicconference.org.
United Nations Development Programme: Nausicaa Habimana Kantengwa: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: +250 (0) 783 010 571
African Development Bank: Magatte Wade, email@example.com +216.98.343.734
Economic Commission for Africa: Yinka Adeyemi, firstname.lastname@example.org +251 911 201798
Source: African Development Bank (AfDB)
31 Oct 2012 09:48 Africa/Lagos
Kagame opens African Economic Conference, calls for models that respond to local needs
ADDIS ABABA, October 31, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Rwandese leader, President Paul Kagame today in Kigali opened the 7th African Economic Conference, calling it an opportunity for leading African economists to look beyond purely economic factors for solutions to Africa's developmental problems.
Convened by the Economic Commission for Africa, (ECA), the African Development Bank, (AFDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the three-day conference is focusing on the theme Inclusive and Sustainable Development in an Age of Economic Uncertainty, according to ECA's Information and Communication Service.
He said that analysts might point to issues of governance and lack of sufficient transformational leaders but “the real problem is that our economists must be ready to come up with new ideas for economic models that meet the needs of African people”.
President Kagame made a joke of Africa's persistent economic woes despite the huge number of economist that the continent counts, saying “I think African economist have become politicians”.
“To be fair, if the economic progress of our countries were to depend only on sound economic planning, I think we would have made tremendous progress in Africa”, he said.
Frequently speaking off prepared notes, he made a hardly veil attempt to address the issue of recent sanctions imposed by some countries on Rwanda for its perceived role in the political instability that has bedeviled the Democratic Republic of Congo for over a decade.
He shed light on Rwanda's progress and explained those achievements in the areas of women empowerment, information, communication and technology, food sufficiency and good governance as the fruit of deliberate planning, careful implementation and shared ownership of all programmes by the people of Rwanda.
Before the President, Ms Helen Clark and Dr. Donald Kaberuka, respectively UNDP Administrator and President of the African Development Bank had welcomed participants with encouraging words for action-oriented outcomes that could be used to transform current growth figures on Africa into concrete improvements on the livelihood of peoples of the region.
“In an era when economic volatility seem to have become the norm, achieving inclusive growth is a big challenge”, she said.
She called for greater and sustained transformational leadership, targeted actions to generate policy solutions that can drive growth economic growth in Africa.
Dr. Kaberuka argued that inclusive growth is both possible and indeed, a good investment for Africa but insisted on the need for its leaders to believe in the future of this continent.
Contending that for real development to occur, Africa must chart its course, the AfDB boss revealed that Africa, as a continent actually has more money than India, but questioned why it continues to seek assistance from the Asian country.
After today's opening session, participants moved straight into two plenary sessions on Inclusive and sustainable development in an age of economic uncertainty and leadership for inclusive development.
In the first session, Jeff Koinange of the Nairobi-based KTV moderated a panel discussion between Mr. Kaberuka and Ms Clark.
During the second session two former leaders, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Prime Minister Joachim Rafael Branco of Sao Tome and Principe shared their personal experiences on leadership for inclusive development.
Source: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)