Tough decisions for economic transformation: Kaberuka on the future of development in Africa

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Whatever happens in Africa today depends on a vortex of forces, said Donald Kaberuka, including demographics and massive internal migration, the incomplete transitions on the economic and political side, commodity prices, and the threat of terrorism.

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) made the remarks during an address entitled “Tough decisions for economic transformation: The future for development in Africa”, delivered before a packed room in Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, on Wednesday, March 18 in London. The discussion was chaired by Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur, who is the founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Kaberuka talked about the steps that African countries needed to take going forward, with or without the rest of the world.

“2015 is a very important year for development. We will be agreeing on a new framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals in September; we will be agreeing on a new framework for financing development in Addis Ababa; and, hopefully, at last we will be agreeing on a framework for climate change in Paris at the end of the year.”

These are all decisions that must be taken with the support of the international community, he said.

“If today Ebola was declared in Juba or in middle of Bangui, is the international community better prepared to respond? I don’t believe so. Because these issues concerning very poor countries are not at the top of the agenda. But those require decisions that we must take. And they must be taken together.”