AfDB Seminar Participants say too Many Institutions Impede Africa’s Development
The duplication of economic and financial institutions in African has been identified as one of the key obstacles to the continent’s development.
African finance and economic leaders who converged on Arusha, Tanzania, for the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank said on Wednesday that harmonization of institutional approach remains the key to developing and financing infrastructure.
AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, said that from the continental Bank’s perspective, only semi-centralised and strong institutions would deliver development.
“It is not about institutions, it is about cooperation by the various African governments and regional development institutions, said Mr. Kaberuka, one of the three panelists who discussed the topic, “Development and Financing Infrastructure in Africa.”
Mr. Kaberuka said that the negative impact of divergent institutional approaches to development has made the Bank to embark on the audit of all AfDB assisted road projects.
The road audit across Africa, he said, was to ensure that international standards and the desired economic development objectives are met.
For her part, Nigeria’s finance minister, Ngozie Okonjo-Iweala, suggested the establishment of viable and strong regional development institutions to manage the effects of nation states bureaucracy.
She said that the West African perspective showed that the Economic Community if West African States, which had succeeded politically has the capacity to develop and finance infrastructure in the region.
“I see the absence of these institutions as the missing linking in the equation of African development.
“We felt that AfDB is doing well, that it can go further on this issue by providing leadership in the establishment of these regional development institutions,” Mrs. Okonjo Iweala said.
Most of the participants who contributed to the debate also urged the leadership of development finance institutions to proactively match Africans’ quest for infrastructure with the needed skilled manpower.
They argued that quality technical education remains one of the important key required to leverage sustainable diverse continental economic development.
A cross section of participants also lamented that agriculture and agro-businesses; the backbone of Africa was not receiving enough attention in the development of infrastructure.
The say the low-ranking of agriculture in the developing partners’ equation led the loss of about two trillion dollars of produce annually in Africa.
Earlier, at the government and private sector leaders said that Africa needs about 90 billion dollars annually to mitigate development deficit.
Some participants cited data which indicated that Africa’s total development commitment stood at about USD 55.9 billion in 2011 or 40 per cent of funds needed in 2009.