AfDB President Says all Africans Should Share in Benefits of Economic Growth

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The dichotomy between statistics on Africa´s economic growth and realities on the ground emerged as a key talking point in discussions ahead of the 2011 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, whose central theme is: “Toward an Agenda for Inclusive Growth in Africa”.

“Africans are no longer interested in impressive statistics that do not reflect realities on the ground,” AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka,  said at a breakfast meeting with the media covering the meetings in Lisbon, Portugal.

Mr. Kaberuka said that recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and other North Africa countries were clear indications that economic growth had to be shared and inclusive to be meaningful.

The Bank recently published an annual report for North Africa which highlights the importance of inclusive growth following recent political changes in the region. Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria are among the largest beneficiaries of AfDB funding.

The report addresses issues that drove a wave of political reform in the region namely, very high youth unemployment, entrenched poverty levels, income distribution disparity within countries, and challenges related to voice, accountability and transparency.  

“These dimensions of social and economic inclusion are all part of North Africa’s unfinished agenda, the overriding theme of this year’s Annual Report for North Africa,” the report says.

The Bank´s operations, such as emergency relief for South Sudan, the Libyan situation, environment and climate change, and the troubles in Cote d’Ivoire were among other key issues the talked about at the breakfast, which provided a platform for informal interaction between AfDB senior management and the media.