Africa is ‘Land of Opportunity’ and Can Help World Return to Growth – AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, says at G20 in Paris

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Africa is a land of opportunity and growth said Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), in a speech at the G20 meeting in Paris on 21 October 2011 ahead of the summit in Cannes in November.

He said that Africa had, over the past decade, made a great leap forward, and had left behind the stagnation of the past.  

Mr Kaberuka said the agenda of the French presidency of the G20 could contribute to this momentum and unlock the potential of Africa and all developing countries, not just for the good of Africa but also for the good of the world.

Africa was a ‘bearer of good hope’, he said, because of the support of the continent’s partners, its demography that includes a host of talented young people and entrepreneurs together, and the economic reforms that Africa has undertaken over the past years.

However, he expressed a word of caution.  Mr Kaberuka said there had been mistakes in the past, and that there were still some problems to be dealt with in the economic and political spheres and in the management of Africa’s natural resources.

“We remain cautious and vigilant in dealing with both internal and external risks”, he said.
He underlined the importance of continuing to build and develop infrastructure in Africa to maintain economic growth, and stressed the importance of attracting the private sector to such projects.
Still on the issue of economic growth, he emphasized the importance of inclusive growth that all people should share in the prosperity that economic success brings.

Inclusive growth was central to the future of North Africa, where the Arab Spring had show the need for full democracy and to allow the participation of young people in the social and economic life of their countries.

He noted that the Tunisian people would go the polls on 23 October.  The results, he said, would be significant for the future and prosperity of for a region south of the Mediterranean which has 215 million people.  Fifty million of these people were under the age of 15 years.

In conclusion, Mr Kaberuka said: “Today, more than ever, the world needs a new growth momentum in order to deal with the multiple problems we face – unemployment, deficit, debt and global poverty.  Africa and its institutions are keen to play their part in that renewed growth momentum which the world economy needs at this time”.