African countries must strengthen governance and international partnerships, while also making better use of abundant natural resources to accelerate economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 period, the International Forum on African Leadership said.
“We owe it to posterity to leverage the partnerships that we have and forge new ones to expedite the resurgence of our economies,” said Lazarus Chakweras, President of the Republic of Malawi, during the forum, which was organized by African Leadership Magazine on Friday 5 December.
African leaders must be at their creative best to secure critical global partnerships and to drive the continent’s economic resurgence, said Chakweras, adding that governments also need to build trust with their citizens.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that poor governance damages public trust in government interventions. We cannot attract the world to our nations if our nations are in disarray,” he said.
Chakweras stressed the role of good governance in building resilient economies. “The public sector must be in top shape to prepare for and respond to crises and changes in the global climate before they occur. Such preparedness will put our countries in a stronger position to contribute to global response and global strategy, especially in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda.”
In his keynote address, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina called for strong leadership, a shared sense of collective responsibility, the better harnessing of domestic resources and the transparent management of the continent’s vast natural wealth.
“The speed and quality of the economic recovery process from the pandemic will depend on our shared sense of collective responsibility and the financial capacity of developing countries to address immediate shocks, stabilize their economies, and invest in growing back,” Adesina said.
Moreover, tapping domestic sources of revenue will be essential to our economic recovery, he noted. “Africa must grow by mobilizing domestic resources, especially by unlocking its over $1 trillion in pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance funds to help close the annual infrastructure financing gap estimated at $64-108 billion.”
Adesina also cited the need for transparent management of the continent’s immense natural wealth. “Africa will build back faster by also harnessing and better managing the revenue streams from its abundant natural resources, including minerals, metals, biodiversity, blue economy, forest resources, agriculture, and oil and gas, to boost domestic savings,” he said.
Lord Dolar Popat, a Member of the United Kingdom’s House of Lords, and the Prime Minister’s Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda, acknowledged the emergence of a new Africa, but urged further improvement in the continent’s investment climate to attract greater private sector investment.
“There is a huge room for growth and tremendous potential, especially considering Africa’s population. We must continue to take this momentum forward. I can confirm Africa as Britain’s continent of choice,” he said.