The media in Africa have been called upon to highlight positive development strides across the continent with a view to keeping the people informed about the various opportunities and challenges to overcome, the South Africa-based New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency said in a statement, obtained Saturday by PANA here.
It quoted the NEPAD Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, as saying, at a breakfast meeting with media executives in Johannesburg, that it was important for development issues to be well articulated and understood to enable Africans take part and support processes that lead to the development of their societies.
Dr. Mayaki outlined the progress NEPAD has made in the implementation of its various projects, but said there was now a need for Africa to tap into its own resources to finance development goals.
While calling for stronger collaboration between the public and private sector, Dr. Mayaki cautioned that despite having six of the 10 fastest growing economies in Africa, seven out of 10 of the most unequal economies are also in Africa.
According to him, “If we want to address social inequalities and create wealth for Africa, the issue we need to look at is Governance. The way we govern has to reflect the realistic needs of our people (many of them youth), who make up a vast percentage of Africa’s population.”
He noted that the Arab Spring was triggered by social inequalities and high rate of unemployment.
Citing the example of Tunisia where despite high literacy levels, infrastructural development and agriculture-led growth, youth unemployment was one of the main causes of the revolution there.
Dr. Mayaki said that the way out was: “We need to make sure that governance is no longer a top-down process. We need to re-think governance, bearing in mind that Africa has the most youthful population in the world. Africa cannot be managed like Europe, where the average age is 49, in Africa it is 19. And African leaders are obliged to tackle the issue of illicit money flows out of the continent.”
He said this would cost the continent US$ 40 billion every year and would reduce Africa’s dependency on aid, which currently stood at US$ 20 billion of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) annually.
The NEPAD boss said the Agency was intensifying efforts at creating youth employment, attracting private sector investment and accelerating sustainable economic growth on the continent.
“As the African Union’s technical body, NEPAD’s role is to be a vehicle that will boost regional integration through continental programmes such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA),” he explained.
Dr. Mayaki said, as a way of accelerating investment in infrastructure on the continent, NEPAD will co-host with the Senegalese government a financing summit in Dakar in December.
The summit will bring together Africa’s most influential leaders from government, industry and finance as well as the private sector.