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Frequent policy change is the bane of African economies

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 7, GNA - Professor Charles Stith of the African Presidential Archives and Research Centre (APRC) of Boston University in the United States, on Tuesday said the inconsistency and lack of continuity in the pursuit of economic policies was the bane of African economies.

He noted that every change of government in almost every African country came with change of policies and a total scrap of the policies and programmes being pursued by the previous government. Prof. Stith made the observation when he presented a brief on the African Leader State of Africa Report 2005 compiled by the APRC strictly on the State of the Nation Addresses of leaders of 14 African countries in 2005.

He said the report, yet to be published on APRC website on February 22, 2006, was intended to bring to the fore how Africans assessed the policy changes by their governments and to point out the harsh reality of such policy changes.

Prof. Stith also noted that there was a missing link between the massive production of raw materials and the conversion of such products into processed and internationally marketable commodities. "Our research has shown that Africa lacks the adequate human resource to develop raw materials into higher earning products; it is not enough to be the best cotton producing country, you need to grow into the best shirt producing country from that."

He argued that African leaders needed to make a determined effort to bring down their people in the Diaspora, saying that Africans in the United States, for instance, were worth 750 billion dollars in incomes per annum and they constituted some of the best brains among expatriates living in the USA.

"African governments need to ensure attractive conditions such as political stability, easy land acquisition, good investment climate and properly advertise Africa in the appropriate international media to attract their peoples in the Diaspora," he said.

The countries covered in the report included Ghana, Benin, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania. The Report noted that GDP growth rate in Ghana exceeded the target of 5.2 per cent in 2004 and hit 5.8 per cent by the close of that year.

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