Africa is seeking new partnerships that will create jobs on the continent, allow African industrialization and manufacturing to grow unlike previous forms of investment that prejudiced the developing continent, African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Sunday.
Speaking in Washington DC at an event dubbed ‘Believe in Africa Day’, ahead of President Barack Obama’s three-day US-Africa summit which begins Monday, Dlamini-Zuma said Africa wants investors to help train millions of African youth in science, technology, research and innovation, among other disciplines, to leapfrog development on the continent.
Other critical areas of priority are agro-processing and infrastructure development.
“Africa seeks partnerships with the world based on its priorities,” she said.
“We would like Americans and other business people to invest in Africa but to invest in a way that will create jobs in Africa, that will allow us to industrialize and manufacture in Africa,” she said.
This would allow the continent to add value to its vast natural and mineral resources.
Dlamini-Zuma said Africa as a continent is united on what it wants, adding efforts are being intensified to ensure peace prevails to aid development and growth.
“As we look at what to do today and in the next 50 years, we are determined to silence the guns on our continent; to eradicate poverty in one generation, eradicate hunger, fragility and disease and transform our economies, create jobs, build shared prosperity and preserve our environment and deal with the challenge of climate change.”
She promised investors at the meeting, organized by the diaspora group Believe in Africa and television channel Africa24, that Africa is moving fast to foster tolerant and inclusive, just and non-sexist democratic societies as the basis of its development plan for the next 50 years dubbed Agenda 2063.
Domestic Resource Mobilization
The President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, also spoke at the meeting as did four African Presidents of Guinea, Mauritania, Cameroon and Madagascar.
Kaberuka said there’s a fundamental shift in Africa on how the continent views itself, adding Africa should not rely on outsiders to develop itself.
“We have looked through the numbers; we have the ability to fund Africa’s development,” he said to applause.
This, he said, can be done through domestic resource mobilization, using Africa’s resources to create wealth and use it wisely and ensuring Africa benefits fairly from its resources in the extractive industry.
“If we do not do that, then future generations will ask ‘what did you do with the oil, platinum and gold’. Let investors get their fair share but also the African countries should get their fair share,” said Kaberuka.
He said African countries should also access capital markets, borrow carefully, invest wisely and put in place debt management capabilities to avoid problems in the future.
President Alpha Conde of Guinea said the problem with Africa was that it did not trust itself with some countries rushing to take advice from outsiders that he said was detrimental to the continent.
“We have the means to develop ourselves,” he said. “Let us trust in ourselves that we can do it. Yes we need fair trade with the rest of the world but there’s more that we can do for ourselves because people cannot just continue to come and get our minerals, leaving us under-developed,” said Mr. Conde.
The meeting discussed various issues including business opportunities in Africa, the need to build strong partnerships with investors and looked at the extractive industry, energy and infrastructure, agriculture, banking, technology, finance service transformation, among other issues.