Interview with African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) Executive Director, William Lyakurwa
“Good governance including the rule of law is central to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), retaining capital domestically as well as levering foreign assistance as insurance against shocks and for countercyclical measures,” says Dr. Lyakurwa, taking stock of the AEC deliberations in Tunis.
Question: You have listened to the various presentations and participated in some sessions in this African Economic Conference being held in Tunis. How would you assess the deliberations?
Answer: Thanks for your question. A key take away from the two days’ deliberations is that regional integration is a major factor in future growth strategy for Africa. In my view, the prerequisite includes: focusing on regional infrastructure to facilitate movement of goods and services; taking advantage of the larger market to develop manufacturing including agro-processing; stressing on regional policy coordination. Last but not the least we need huge investment in higher education institutions, with a view to enhancing quality of manpower in particular policy analysts and economic managers.
Question: Observers say bad governance is a major problem to deal with in the continent. What is your view on this?
Answer: For me, good governance is vital to any economy. Good governance including the rule of law is central to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), retaining capital domestically as well as levering foreign assistance as insurance against shocks and for countercyclical measures. We also think that Private Public Partnership (PPP) is key for broadening the resource base, growing the tax base and acting as an agent of restraint on possible policy reversals.
Question: As the African Economic Conference focuses on “Setting the Agenda for Africa’s Recovery and Long-term Growth”, in your view, what are the priorities for sustainable growth in Africa?
Answer: Priorities for sustainable growth in Africa include: investment in infrastructure, particularly regional infrastructure. As you also know, human capital is strategic. Our governments would also need to invest in human capital development, including technical and vocational training. And as I said earlier, maintaining macro stability, with good governance including the rule of law and security, is central to sustained economic growth.