High level debate at the Annual Meeting at the African Development Bank - Marrakech, 29 May 2013
Panelists: Hon. Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister of Finance, Italy Hon. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Nigeria Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor, People's Bank of China, People's Republic of China Dr. Makhtar Diop, Vice President, Africa Region, The World Bank Ms. Anne Sipiläinen, Undersecretary of State (Development Cooperation and Development Policy), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland Description: This High Level Event aims to debate key recent economic developments in Africa in the context of the ongoing global developments. Arguably, for Africa, the key scenarios to watch are the trends in the US, Eurozone, Japan, and the group of emerging markets. Overall, the global economy experienced subdued growth for another year in 2013. Estimated global economic growth was 3.0% in 2013 against 3.1% in the previous year. This was due to the continued protracted recession in Europe during the first three quarters of the year and slower growth in emerging market and developing economies. The global economy is forecast to an increase to 3.7 percent in 2014 and 3.9% in 2015. The United States of America had been estimated to have grown by a meagre pace of 1.9% cent in 2013, significantly lower than the 2.8% growth of 2012. In spite of extremely accommodative monetary policy that has mainly boosted equity prices, a number of factors contributed to the slowdown, including fiscal tightening and a series of political gridlocks over budgetary issues during the year. GDP is projected to increase 2.8% and 3.0% for 2014 and 2015, respectively. In contrast to the global and US trends, in the Eurozone, GDP decelerated to -0.4% in 2013 from -0.7% in the previous year. Its GDP is projected to grow by 1.0% and 1.4% in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Growth in the zone remains weak due to a number of factors, including the drag of fiscal austerity programs; exceptionally low intra-regional demand; slow extra-regional demand; and tight lending conditions for some countries. Japan has been estimated to have grown by 1.7% in 2013 from 1.4% in 2012. The country's GDP is forecast to remain unchanged at 1.7% in 2014, reflecting the expected drag from the consumption tax, which may be moderated somewhat by temporary fiscal stimulus. Growth is projected to moderate to just 1.0% in 2015. Growth in emerging market and developing economies fell from 4.9% in 2012 to 4.7% in 2013. Their growth is forecast to increase to 5.1% in 2014 and to 5.4% in 2015. Downside risks include rising interest rates (and hence falling capital inflows) and projected weaker commodity prices. For African economies, although economic growth dropped in 2013 to 3.7% from 6.8% in 2012, growth prospects remain relatively robust. GDP is projected to accelerate to 4.8% in 2014 and 5.8% in 2015. However, the continent remains very vulnerable to key external risks, including further weakening in emerging market economies, reversal of recovery in Europe, disorderly tapering, and sharper than projected declines in commodity prices. In view of the above developments, what strategic policies and actions does Africa need to take right now to entrench the ongoing evolution of the continent as a global player in the foreseeable future?
Welcome Remarks: Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of AfDB Group Panelists: - H. E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda - H. E. William Ruto, Vice - President of Kenya - Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson, African Union Commission - H. E. Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, former President, Republic of South Africa - Hon. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria - Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation Description: The World Economic Forum (WEF) report for 2014 identifies two critical leadership problems globally -- the first is that there is a leadership deficit, and the second is that there is a lack of trust in policies and programmes pursued by leaders. Good leadership will be crucial for enabling Africa to exploit the window of opportunity that has opened up in the past decade, notably its natural resource boom. However, experience indicates that leaders that are resourceful and accountable may be more important "initial conditions" for the development and transformation of their countries than resource abundance per se. Where leadership was inadequate, the pace of industrialization and innovation stagnated, and in some cases was reversed, irrespective of the size of the resource base. In the absence of good leadership, Africa will not be able to reach its global potential. That leadership should be able to produce domestic consensus or coalitions that ensure that sufficient resources and political attention are key to the goal of economic transformation. Some prerequisite elements are a capable state; government and private sector collaboration; a supportive environment for competitiveness; and continuous leveraging and development of the knowledge base. Issues for Discussion: 1. How can we nurture visionary African leadership to address any leadership deficit and engender trust in policies? 2. Does Africa need effective institutions more than it needs strong leaders?
--African Leaders Should Accept Their Failure In Solving Conflicts-- President Paul Kagame has challenged African leaders to take responsibility and accept their failure in solving conflicts that have ravaged the continent for decades. The head of state was on Tuesday contributing to a panel discussion on ending conflict in Africa at the ongoing African Development Bank's annual meeting. The session was themed: "Solving conflicts and Peace building in Africa." In his remarks, President Kagame said African leaders should work together and solve their own problems without seeking help from European countries. "I think we must take responsibility and accept our failures in dealing with these matters," said Kagame. Commenting on the issue of Nigerian Islamist militia Boko Haram that had been raised by the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Kagame said there was no need for regional leaders to travel to Europe seeking for help. "When I am watching television and I find that our leaders, who should have been working together all along to address these problems that only affect their countries, wait until they are invited to go to Europe to sit there and find solutions to their problems...it's as if they are made to sit down and address their problems," said Kagame. "Why does anybody wait for that?" asked Kagame. President Kagame added that such leaders seeking solutions to Africa's problems from outsiders tarnishes the continent's image. However, Kagame did not name any names. His comments were seen as reference to recent meeting in Paris attended by Nigerian President and other west africa leaders on the boko haram militants. "In fact, the image it gives is that we are not there to address these problems...they are (African leaders) happy to sit in Paris with the President of France and just talk about their problems," said Kagame. "It doesn't make sense that our leaders cannot get themselves together to address problems affecting our people," added Kagame. President Kagame said African leaders do not need to be invited by outsiders to go and address their domestic problems. "African leaders, we don't need to be invited anywhere to go and address our problems, without first inviting ourselves to come together to tell each other the actual truth we must tell each other," he said. President Kagame and other leaders were discussing findings of a report by panel of experts established by the African Development Bank President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka. The High Level Panel on Fragile States (HLPFS) chaired by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. On South Sudan, President Kagame told the audience that it was the responsibility of the country's people and leaders who took time to fight for their independence but rather create another problem after attaining that independence. "This country and the people there wanted to be independent. They got independence but that turned into a problem," said Kagame. "You have won war being fought waged to get independence, then you have to fight another when you have achieved independence...just fighting among themselves." Kagame went on: "Some of these underlined root causes should and could have been addressed by the leaders there. Whatever happened, whoever was wrong-that's not the issue. It is still the responsibility of leaders if they can't resolve the matters themselves, why not calling neighbours to say come and help. We have a problem here."