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During a press conference, AfDB President Announces Launch of First pan-African Satellite
Addis Ababa, 17 November 2007 – Bank Group President, Donald Kaberuka, on Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said the continent would have its first satellite by the end of the year. Speaking at a press briefing within the framework of the African Economic Conference, Mr. Kaberuka said the satellite would enable Africans to easily communicate with other people across the globe and within the continent. The satellite, he pointed out, would cut down communication cost and make it possible for the continent’s poor to have access to affordable communication products. The Bank Group and other development partners are funding the satellite project.
Asked whether the continent will attain the MDGs, the president said Africa still had a chance. He said the continent could attain the MDG on universal primary education if more efforts and resources where allocated to the sector. He however stressed that attaining the other MDGs depended on the actions of individual African countries and that the Bank would provide support to enable them attain the MDGs.
Regarding the issue of corruption, Mr. Kaberuka said Africans should accept the existence of the plague on the continent and should openly discuss it as a first step towards resolving the situation. Denying its existence, he stressed, meant losing the determination and seriousness to deal with the issue. He urged donors not to use corruption as a reason to inflict double punishment on the poor who are already living in degradable human conditions. He called on OECD countries to play their role in the fight against corruption on the continent and urged them to ratify the convention against the plague as a major step towards globalising efforts to overcome the issue. Corruption in high places is an issue on the continent and governments and huge multinationals have been blamed for perpetuating the scourge.
Answering a question on the rationale behind the conference, Mr. Kaberuka said it was time for African professionals to carry out their own analysis of the economic reality on the continent, adding that the economic conference was an ideal platform for economists, researchers and policy-makers to share evidence-based scientific thinking.
He said Africa’s was blessed with mineral resources that could help the continent developed if the resources were well managed. He however advised that the continent’s economy should not be based on geology, but rather on the quality of its human resources. He pointed to China as an example of a country that has achieved phenomenal growth over the last decade without natural resources. China, he said, had achieved this feat through other means and if African countries could function differently, they could avoid the boom and busts that have characterized most African economies.