The Vice President of the World Bank for Africa Region, Obiageli Ezekwesili has said African countries should develop and own their policies towards socio-economic development.
Speaking on Joy FM's Super Morning Show on Thursday, she said the World Bank now sees Africa as partner in development. She stated that Africa being the focus of the Bank now is allowed to set its own development agenda without any interference.
“We should be less on rhetoric and more on results. Our current strategy is to allow countries to lead the process of articulating their vision for development and we would support,” the one-time Minister of Education for Nigeria revealed.
Madam Ezekwesili said: “During the Spring meeting in April…delegation after delegation had Ministers of Finance that could clearly articulate what they considered to be their options, priorities they thought they didn't have and what they needed from partners. It wasn't anymore a situation where a Minister of Finance from Africa would go into a room and just be a taker of advice.”
She was optimistic that Africa's economic problems would soon come to an end but was quick to add that all must adopt a can do attitude to accelerate poverty eradication.
“Based on the antecedent of the continent we really need to say we can make it. That can do spirit need to underpin everything we do as citizens and leaders within the continent,” Ezekwesili noted.
When the host of the Programme, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah asked if Africa's problems have solutions she outlined that sound policy articulation, competent and capable state institutions as well as private sector bodies poised to implement sound policy choices are some of the immediate solutions to the problems facing Africa.
Madam Ezekwesili noted that without close collaboration between the public and private sectors nothing meaningful would come out of policies to improve the living conditions of the people. Also, she added that international partners such as the World Bank have a major role to play to develop the continent.
She was hopeful that with the current crop of leadership emerging on the continent Africa could move from its economic and political doldrums.
Ezekwesili, a Nigerian national, began her career as an auditor and management consultant. She was one of the founding members of Transparency International, where she held the position Director for Africa.
She subsequently served as minister of Solid Minerals Development, with emphasis on reforming Nigeria's mining sector to internationally recognized standards.
Since June 2006, Ezekwesili has been the minister of Education where she was tasked with leading the country's on-going comprehensive reform strategy within the education sector.
Ezekwesili holds a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from University of Lagos, as well as a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.