African Transformation Forum – Kigali (14-15 March)

Today I attended the African Transformation Forum (http://acetforafrica.org/) as panelist on national transformation strategies. I had the occasion to reaffirm that I am convinced of the importance of a shift from economic development model to real transformation strategies. These strategies will require to strengthen the States and to involve civil society.

I need to say that I am really impressed by the ATF and by Rwanda. Thank you very much to all of you.

Speech at Yale’s University : We urge private sector to come on board !

On October 15 I had the great honour to talk about Africa’s most pressing development challenges and opportunies in front of a great audience at Yale’s University.

We started discussing Africa’s progress in the last 60 years. During this time, some African countries have emerged among the world’s top fastest-growing economies.

Yale

But the continent has struggled with a double-bind problem: how to strengthen individual nation-states while simultaneously fostering political integration across Africa during the post-independence era ?

The 1980s and ’90s saw the deployment of harsh structural adjustment processes, which erased Africa’s capacity to think strategically in the long term.

This is the reason why NEPAD was created. Today we are actively working with the 54 member states of the African Union to share best practices, foster partnerships, and encourage international cooperation.

NEPAD is the bridge that will allow for the transformation of African unity. Ours plans are a blueprint for social and economic transformation and regional integration.

Many issues in the areas of development prioritized by NEPAD can only be addressed through partnerships involving the private and social sectors.  As I reminded the audience, we absolutely need the private sector to come on board. Domestic resources can’t finance many of these initiatives. We need partners and investors.

There are huge opportunities for the private sector. Agribusiness is one, given Africa’s fertile land and farming communities. Fisheries also offer strong opportunities for wealth creation, both locally and for investors. And startups have a promising foothold in Africa. Indeed, there is a vibrant entrepreneurial sector with young, dynamic Africans who are setting up companies, many in the IT domain. While the obstacles are myriad and some observers have criticized the African Union for having the hubris to create a 50-year plan, the time for a broad, coordinated effort in African development is now.

In the end, I told them my deep feelings about the continent : Africa has so much to offer the rest of the world. We are in a period of great transition now, but the opportunities in some areas are limitless.

The importance of monitoring the implementation of V063

At the NEPAD Agency, we have developed an integrated value driven engineering solution for planning implementation and monitoring of Vision 2063. The system is crafted, through a Business Intelligence Warehouse to provide a visualized platform that is integrated at the national, regional and continental levels. In collaboration with COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and AUC (American University in Cairo), we delivered technical training to six AU member States namely South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Uganda. Participants were also drawn from civil society represented by African Monitor, as well as from one specialized research and data institution, ReSAKSS.

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The 2nd Continental Business Network meeting lays the foundation for further cooperation between the public and the private sectors

Following the launch of the Continental Business Network (CBN) on 1ST June 2015 in Cape Town, the CBN Council held its first meeting on the 16th of October 2015 at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. As highlighted by Dr Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim (AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy) at the Cape Town meeting “Africa will only succeed when all public and private sector stakeholders will join their efforts”. As a result, the CBN is intended to be a high-level advocacy and investment platform for increased private sector participation in Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) financing/investment and implementation.

Expected outcomes of PIDA are :

  • To reduce energy costs and increase access
  • To slash transport costs and boost intra-African trade.
  • To provide finance for transport.
  • To ensure water and food security.
  • To increase regional connectivity.

The CBN is also more generally devoted to be a forum for addressing challenges and opportunities relating to the development of Africa’s infrastructures. The Network comprises leading African and global business and finance bodies as well as regional and international organisations. It is a fantastic initiative endorsed by the NEPAD, which is leading to very concrete things such as to bring the Sambangalou hydro-power project in West Africa to financial close by end 2016. Thus the CBN is a direct response to facilitate private sector advice and leadership in essential NEPAD and African infrastructure projects.

Today, I urge the private sector to take ownership of the future of regional infrastructure development. We are making a transition from a public-centred to a combination of public and private sector approach for the implementation of Africa’s regional infrastructure. This new culture will be framed through the instruments that CBN offers. The CBN will allow all the involved actors to enter this essential dialogue that will ensure the actual realization of all these projects. Now let’s get it started.