Editor’s Note: March 28, 2019
Doing – not talking – will develop Africa
“Let us…not end up as a graveyard for conferences and seminars.” This was the call to action by a senior African Union official at a major gathering of ministers in Morocco this week.
The words will resonate with anyone interested in Africa’s economic progress.
Despite a seemingly endless stream of lavish conferences, seminars and other gatherings on core issues like regional integration, infrastructure, education and healthcare, results are far and few between.
Plans and initiatives abound, but these rarely, if ever, translate into meaningful action. Often they are abandoned after years of failure, only to be replaced by rebranded initiatives aimed at achieving the same thing.
There are of course practical constraints on what countries can do, like a lack of funding or adequate human capital, but these are often used as an excuse for the overarching problem – a lack of political will.
While not easy, there are tangible solutions to most of Africa’s development challenges. The real problem is that development is hard, and requires a level of discipline that most governments are unable, or unwilling, to muster.
It’s an unacceptable – not to mention costly – state of affairs.
There is no simple fix for this, but without a change in approach there will be little to point to beyond expensive, ineffective conferences.
From The Continent
Zambia’s main trade union body has warned about labour unrest over a spike in delayed salaries at private and public companies. This comes amid deteriorating public finances and mounting debt in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer. More: CGTN
Nigeria plans to spend $10bn - $20bn on infrastructure in the next 5-10 years, trade and investment minister Okechukwu Enelamah has announced. This would mark a significant increase for Africa’s biggest economy, which is recovering from its first recession in 25 years in 2016. More: Bloomberg
The Daily Stat
The number of countries that have ratified the African Continental Free Trade area agreement, one short of operationalizing the initiative. More: The East African
The Global Perspective
Mozambique has announced plans to set up a sovereign wealth fund to manage revenue from future gas production as the country gears up to develop estimated natural gas reserves of 100 tr cubic feet. Final investment decisions on a $20bn project led by Anadarko, as well as a bigger one led by ExxonMobil, are expected this year. Africa. More: WorldOil
Disease is costing Africa $2.4tr in lost GDP value a year according to new figures from the UN’s World Health Organization. Non-communicable diseases are the main drag on productivity, accounting for 37% of the disease burden. More: WHO