From Patrick A. Firempong, GNA Special Correspondent, Abuja.
Abuja, Jan.29, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Saturday said African States must be committed to good governance individually and collectively to give Africa the wholesome image to attract partnerships from outside the continent.
"Investor confidence in our various countries is largely dependent on the prevalence of good governance and a transparent regulatory framework," he said.
President Kufuor made the call when addressing the closing session of the two-day International Business Forum on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) organized by the NEPAD Business Group of Nigeria in Abuja.
The theme of the Forum was "Wealth Creation for Poverty Eradication" with the objective of promoting the African private sector as the engine of growth for Africa's sustainable economic development.
President Kufuor said, "an investor will not put any long term investment into any country unless he or she is assured of getting justice in case of any dispute."
"Indeed, the essence of good governance and hence democracy is to ensure the flourishing of accountability, predictability and avoidance of arbitrariness. Moreover, good governance unleashes the creative potential of our peoples and makes our countries safe and conducive for business development." he added.
President Kufuor said the trust that investment in Africa would not only be profitable but also very safe was what must be established beyond doubt, adding, " we need to recognize that the partnership between good governance and business is a symbiotic one."
He said if the symbiosis was well made, then Africa could look forward to the eight per cent to 12 per cent annual growth rates that were needed to reach within the next decade to achieve the substantial transformation of African national economies that would lead to the sustained prosperity of Africans as prescribed by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria said NEPAD was a programme of the African Union (AU), which sought to resolve the chronic crisis of governance and development on the Continent.
He said the desire for self-expression and self-actualisation embodied in NEPAD could only be achieved when Africans become the architects of their own economic destiny through self-reliance and less dependence on official development assistance.
President Obasanjo said this could best be done by looking inwards and developing the African private sector to create wealth for the alleviation of extreme poverty and the enhancement of the standard of living of Africans.