World Economic Forum Seeks Action on Africa


John Iwori with agencies reports

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has called for action on key issues that will drive the African economy. Participants at the forum which took place in Durban, South Africa yesterday stressed the need for Africa to move beyond theory and planning. Pointing out that the “time for action has arrived”, they argued that the phrase “Africa Rising” should be amended to “Africans Rising” – to reflect the enormous potential of the continent’s human capital They argued that Africa’s first priority should be to embark on what they called “a path of sustained, sustainable and inclusive growth” The Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril M. Ramaphosa in his closing address at the WEF stated that the fundamental imperative for Africa was to pursue inclusive growth, which would transform it from the continent of potential to the continent of prosperity.
Ramaphosa called on the continent’s leaders to think hard about “the type of Africa we are going to leave for future generations.” His words: “Will it be a place of ashes or of half-baked solutions, or will it be a product of leaders’ best efforts to be responsive and responsible to their citizens? We must lead with respect and dignity. We are trustees and guardians of the continent for future generations.” According to him, a comprehensive reform of the approach to education was one of the first calls to action. Promotion of science and innovation must be central to learning, as must broadening access for all, but especially for girls and young women. And education cannot be the preserve of an emerging middle class, thus perpetuating inequality. On his part, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Transnet, South Africa Siyabonga Gama noted that there was a real sense of urgency in Africa.
Gama suggested that governments should be run as if they were large corporates with constant monitoring of performance in hitting targets, bold decision making and the removal of impediments that slow down growth. He argued that the priorities are to integrate Africa’s five economic zones into one giant economic marketplace. “Integral to this is a major drive to build infrastructure and power- generation capacity”, he added.