Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has proposed three areas for African political and business leaders to prioritize in their quest to transform Africa into an economic powerhouse on the global stage.
Delivering the keynote address at the maiden edition of the African Prosperity Dialogue (APD) which is currently taking place at the Safari Valley Resort in the Eastern Region, the Vice President counselled African business and political leaders to as a matter of priority, make smart investments in critical infrastructure across the continent; unleash the productive capacity of the continent onto the world; while mobilising finance and investments to bridge the infrastructural gap currently plaguing the continent.
According to the Vice President, with the narrative about Africa for most parts of the world sadly being about poverty, conflict, misgovernance, corruption and underdevelopment, “the time has come for Africa and Africans to define our own narrative”, insisting that: “We cannot allow poverty and underdevelopment to be the destiny of Africa, a continent so blessed with every natural resource imaginable – oil, gas, minerals, and sunshine.”’
The Vice President opined that “as a continent, we need to produce and trade our way out of poverty and underdevelopment, and we cannot do that without investing in smart infrastructure across the continent.”
While the last decades have seen some positive investments, he noted, there was the need for additional resources to finance the “arteries for trade”, which include physical infrastructure such as roads, rail, and energy.
Digital infrastructure such as data centres to facilitate the digital transformation and financial infrastructure to allow for integration of financial markets are also prerequisites for the African transformation.
These investments, he iterated, will be critical to delivering the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Unleashing African Productive Capacity
Furthermore, Dr. Bawumia stressed on the need for Africans, particularly its business and political leaders, to unleash their productive capacities across the continent.
“We must create platforms for knowledge brokerage and access to information on critical products and services on the continent to allow the 445 million small businesses across the continent to plug into the value chains of these mega industries”, he stated.
“We need to develop Africa into a manufacturing zone that will facilitate the trade of value-added products”, the Vice President added. “These, in my view, will be critical to leapfrogging Africa’s industrialisation and the enormous socio-economic benefits.”
Mobilising Finance and Investments
In his third proposal on transforming Africa, the Vice President urged African business and political leaders to focus on mobilising finance and investments.
Africa, he intimated, needs between US$ 130 billion and US$ 170 billion annually to bridge its infrastructure gap and generate sustainable growth at 5% per annum or more.
This, in his opinion, presents “immense opportunities” for the private sector investment.
“Attracting private sector participation through public-private partnerships (PPPs) is therefore, essential for the delivery of various infrastructural projects”, he said, adding that, there was the need for innovative policies to mobilise and allocate resources more effectively, and for better coordination amongst all African stakeholders and international partners.
In concluding his remarks, the Vice President charged participants at the forum to consolidate Africa’s successes so far, saying: “We are indeed on the cusp of the realisation of the Africa we want”.
“As key stakeholders, we must consolidate the successes so far and, with a sense of urgency, develop the signature solutions needed to deepen intra-African trade and spur impactful investments needed to bring prosperity to the continent and its people. And we must do this with fearless determination.”
The Africa Prosperity Dialogue series, is an initiative of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), that brings together political and business leaders of the continent, as well as other thought leaders to brainstorm on the all-important African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) single-market project for the continent while creating an annual platform for the continent’s leaders to spearhead collaborative implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement.
The event is scheduled to run between Thursday, January 26 to Saturday, January 28, 2023.
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