Africa: Continent to Create Own Development Models

By Emma Onyango, 14 November 2012

Kampala, Uganda — Africa needs to adopt a model that suits her development ideologies if she were to achieve economic transformation, an economic expert has said.

Speaking during a public lecture organized by the Bank of Uganda in Kampala last week, Dr. Donald Kaberuka the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said that Africa is fascinated by the Chinese development model but emphasis have to be put on finding a model that suits the individual country’s ambitions.

“We in Africa have looked for models to follow for so long and in the process we have undermined our own models. There’s no specific model to follow; rich countries are now focusing on their own problems,” Kaberuka said, adding, “With all these huge natural resources being discovered in Africa, now is the time for economic transformation but it is not a guarantee. At the end of the day, every country must choose its own path there’s no specific model to follow.”

He also added that the continent has for long depended on multilateral solutions which in recent years have become extremely difficult to find.

“There is the G-20 which is an organization of the 20 powerful states… it is effective but not legitimate because other countries are locked out of their planning. We have the United Nations (UN) which is legitimate but not effective. Until the day we get institutions that combine the two attributes, we shall remain in our current state,” he said.

“International aid has declined for the first time in 20 years in real terms and is bound to continue. The time has come for Africa to find its own ways of financing its own programs,” Dr. Kaberuka adds.

He noted that despite considerable economic growth across Africa, this had not translated into considerable economic transformation.

Kaberuka also advised the African Central Banks to put together their reserves and invest in infrastructure projects that work for the continent since the rich countries were concentrating on their own problems and reducing aid to Africa.

“We have discussed and have proposed that the Central Banks invest 5% of the $500b reserves into infrastructure projects on the continent in the advent of reduced aid. While we know what can kill development, our knowledge of what makes development is less comprehensive,” Kaberuka said.

The Public Lecture which was organized by the Bank of Uganda under the theme ‘From Economic Growth to Economic Transformation: An Agenda for the African Development Bank’ attracted dignitaries, economists, students and the public.

The ADB promised that it will help African countries undertake the process of economic transformation which according to Kaberuka is a challenge facing many African countries.

Like many others, we believe that the 21st Century is the African Century, Dr. Kaberuka further said while delivering the lecture.

Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile, the Governor Bank of Uganda also added during the lecture that essence of development is economic transformation.

He said, “Countries become richer by transforming their output in terms of technological sophistication.”

Dr. Kaberuka was elected the 7th President of AfDB in 2005 and was re-elected in 2010 for a five year term and is credited for steering the continent through the global crisis.

East African Business Week (Kampala)



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