Kagame charts new course for African economic growth
The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has called on his counterparts across Africa to put the welfare of the people at the fore of their economic policies.
According to Kagame, the success of Africa is tied to the good living condition of its population.He also reminded his fellow heads of states that the reliance of African countries on foreign aids is the result of bad investment decision that the leaders have taken over the years.
“Aid has been very helpful because it addressed many problems, and helped many needy people, who by the way are also a product of bad aid investment, with the numbers of people who need aid increasing. There has been a cycle where we have invested in perpetuating the problem,” he said.
President Kagame made these points yesterday while speaking at the second day of the 2016 Africa Transformation Forum (ATF) organised by African Centre for a Economic a Transformation (ACET) held in Kigali, Rwanda.
“We need mechanisms that include everybody and encourage things to move forward,” said the President.
This approach is necessary, he said, because citizens bear most of the risk of economic policies. “They have to be included in the decisions and understand the benefits because success comes from what they do every day.”
He said the continent will not record significant progress if the leaders continue to discount the quality of its own products and people.
He also warned leaders against waiting for funding or perfect solution to problems before taking decision that would transform lives.“No institution or individual has all the resources or answers.”
He said the right strategy is to use the limited means to send clear signals to the market and to development partners about how best to allocate and utilise resources.
“Funds will come to join and scale up good initiatives that are underway. There is a lot of cash in this world looking for a useful function, both in terms of profit and social impact.”
According to Kagame, the challenge of most governments in Africa is managing big infrastructure projects and picking winners in the economy.
He charged government to lead development process by bringing together partners to fix market failures and mitigate risk.
“Examples in Rwanda include our growing conference and events infrastructure, as well as our provision of broadband Internet and our laptop production partnership with Positivo BGH.”
“Finally, we have to stay adaptable and flexible. Plans and frameworks should not become a barrier to action or to course correction.
“Mistakes will be made along the way and money wasted. But that should not be the end of the road. It serves a purpose if helps to discover the most effective approach more quickly, and builds public understanding and unity of purpose.
“Neither business nor government can afford to try one idea, wait a few years to see how it works, then scrap it and start the cycle again.
“By working together, with an understanding of the strategic environment, we can speed up progress” he said.The DG for Economic Development at DFID, David Kennedy stressed the importance of focusing on economic development If Africa must exit poverty.
According to him, DfID plans to spend 1.8bn pounds yearly in support of broad-based economic growth.
But African leaders must be ready to implement strategies that will deliver economic transformation, he said.