Africa’s development lies in wealth creation – Agyeman-Duah
Dr Baffour Agyeman-Duah, Director, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), on Tuesday noted that Africa’s development does not rest in poverty reduction but in wealth creation.
He said there is no doubt about Africa having a huge and stubborn problem of development and where the people are deprived in many areas of life “but the term poverty as used in Africa’s development discourse should give us allergies”.
Dr Agyemang-Duah was speaking at a three-day Expert Group Meeting on “50 years of Democratisation and Peace-Building in Africa: Policy Reflections,” a project initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union (AU) Commission.
The project, which forms part of the debate and knowledge exchange to commemorate the year-long celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU and the development of the Africa 2063 Agenda, aimed at reviewing Africa’s 50-year track record on democratisation and peace-building since the continent gained its independence.
The meeting was also tasked to review past experiences, assess current trends and project future options and possible scenarios for the continent over the next five decades.
Dr Agyeman-Duah expressed wonder how a continent possessing enormous tangible wealth could be described as being poor.
“Besides the debilitating psychological import, the term has camouflaged what should rather be seriously engaging our attention, which is the creation of wealth,” he added.
He noted that the ingredients for wealth creation exist in abundance and it is about time that as a continent the people begin to think about creating wealth.
Dr Agyemang-Duah called on development partners to assist the continent to create wealth instead of reducing poverty.
“If wealth negates poverty, then we ought to be chasing after wealth, not poverty… What Africa wants is wealth, not poverty and, therefore, strategies for development should be toward creating wealth.
“This is why our natural resources, which are catalytic for wealth creation, should be jealously guarded and judiciously exploited to reduce the dependency syndrome.”
Dr Agyeman-Duah stressed the need to link the issue Africa’s natural resources from the democratisation agenda and also ensure the enforcement of transparency and accountability to curb massive corruption.
Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN Resident Coordinator and the UNDP Resident Representative, said the initiative is pertinent and relevant to Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
“The initiative is also timely as it is meant to contribute substantively to the evolving African Union Agenda 2063 which is a long-term perspective plan for continental integration, unity, and development,” she said.
Ms Sandhu-Rojon said for the AU Agenda 2063 to be meaningful to Africans, it would need to have clear targets and milestones backed with adequate resources for it to be successful and not run the risk of becoming a dream deferred.
Ms Samia Nkrumah, Chairperson of the Convention People’s Party, said democracy must translate into delivery of basic needs for all citizens of the continent.
“We need to go beyond the framework of democracy manifested in voting, contesting elections, debating public issues among other things, and consider the outcome of democracy in terms of meeting basic social and economic needs of our citizens,” she added.
Ms Nkrumah noted that citizens stand the chance to gain if political leaders are ready to cede some powers to a supra-national body for the well-being of the citizenry.
She stressed the need for unity and democracy to enhance standard of living for all Africans.
Dr Aisha L. Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs, said the celebration had provided Africa the opportunity to look at innovative and creative solutions – be it home grown or culturally innovated aimed at facilitating the achievement of the development agenda.