The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, has urged African countries to take charge of their destiny and not to allow national budgets to be over-dependent on aid.
He was speaking at a High-Level Dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.
The event themed “Africa’s Money for African Development: A Future Beyond Aid”, explored how Africa can optimize the use of its resources, creativity and innovation to finance the continent’s development agenda and ambition effectively.
“Africa beyond aid is about mutual benefit, and we must change our perspective to collectively stand on our own feet and forge stronger partnerships that serve Africa’s interests,” he noted.
Globally, Africa presents some of the brightest growth prospects, with six out of the 12th fastest growing economies in the world: Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Tanzania and Rwanda. While in the last decade, African economies have been growing at an average rate of 4.7%, there remains a challenge of creating jobs and designing agile responses for inclusive development.
The dialogue looked at how Africa can innovatively capitalize on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which marks an important point, pivoted by an opportunity to accelerate intra-African trade, regional integration and to take advantage of the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution.
African business and private sector leaders were encouraged to invest in the continent especially young people and create jobs opportunities and safeguard Africa’s wealth by supporting local entrepreneurs to evolve from informal to formal structures of doing business. This is to ensure that regional and global initiatives adequately support sustained economic development that would deliver prosperity, opportunity and stability for all citizens.
“We need a new perspective that shifts the focus from aid as life-support to effectively invest Africa’s resources and wealth to transform the continent’s development.
Correctly used development assistance could be a catalyst for broad-based economic growth and development; and, deliver prosperity, self-reliance, opportunity and stability for all citizens”, noted Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director for Africa, UNDP.
In his remarks, Dr. Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, King of Toro Kingdom added that, “we want an Africa that is united and prosperous, inspired by a new narrative that shifts perception of Africans towards taking ownership and becoming the architects of our own development agenda.”
The cross-disciplinary interactions at the High-Level Dialogue are expected to shape UNDP’s strategic offer for Africa and enhance programme design for development. Besides, development partners were urged to realign their strategic development agenda for Africa, to get Africa out of aid. This is to reverse the mentality that views foreign assistance as a permanent life support mechanism, to an enabler to take Africa to the next level.
BY Melvin Tarlue