Dr Trevor Manuel, South Africa Minister for National Planning Commission, on Thursday pushed for quality leadership and institutional reforms, to tackle poverty and unemployment in Africa.
“We need leadership, and we need a push for faster and further institutional reforms,” he said.
Dr Manuel was speaking at the Third Global Development Series organised by John A. Kufuor Foundation on the theme: “Africa- Emerging Economies and Globalisation.”
“It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and this can only be found in African unity,” he said.
Dr Manuel said: “Africa's economic performance over the past decade has been stellar, reaching levels of growth not seen as consistently before.”
He said the solid performance is against the backdrop of a world economy that is in its sixth year of crisis, with no end in sight.
“The main question is whether we can sustain these trends, deepen them, broaden them and most importantly, take more of our people along a path of rising incomes, rising employment and better living standards.
Dr Manuel said pouring additional funding into sectors characterised by high levels of inefficiency makes little sense.
“The region needs to improve the capacity and efficiency of those institutions responsible for developing and managing infrastructure.”
Dr Manuel said while the scale of the challenge varies greatly across African countries, general strategies could help to foster institutional advancements, including an enlarged regional approach to infrastructure investment, and improved regulatory framework.
He said the real challenge for Africa lies in sustaining the growth process, leveraging the gains of the past decade and enabling the continent to reach its full potential and ensuring that growth is inclusive.
Dr Manuel said education, healthcare and the building and strengthening of accountable institutions of governance should be addressed.
“This must be closely associated with a focus on the need for urban policy and for significantly higher investment in infrastructure. In order to drive development on the continent, we must understand a set of issues relating to employment, economic diversification, including the need to industrialise.”
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor said the real development to transform lives emanates from quality leadership.
He said meaningful and real progress is dependent on leadership, which rests on good governance to set the right policy framework and create congenial atmosphere to engender development.
Mr Kufuor said the Foundation has created the platform to launch inter-generational debate to allow the youth to appreciate that leadership is nurtured.
Dr Tony Oteng-Gyasi, Former President of the Association of Ghana Industries said the country should brand herself to help alleviate poverty, unemployment, inequality and create workable policies.
Professor Alexander Nii Oto Dodoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation called on people from the political divide to support the body to advance its agenda of promoting quality leadership and good governance.