Marrakech, 28 May 2013
On the first day of the 48th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) President Kagame delivered his keynote address which emphasized that sustaining today’s good progress requires a strong commitment and drive towards deepening economic integration.
“We must refuse the notion of the so-called “resource curse.” It is evident that meaningful economic growth must be reflected in the human and physical development of our continent. The task ahead for African countries is to shape this link between growth and socio-economic transformation of our societies. The issue facing us leaders is how to scale and spread the benefits of the prevailing growth to all the citizens and sustain it.”
More than 2,500 delegates from the institution’s 78 member countries have attended this year’s meeting. Under the theme “Africa’s Structural Transformation,” hoping to review the Bank’s 2012 operations and its 2013 development funding portfolio, the African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka, also added that:
“It took Britain 150 years to double its GDP yet, it has taken Africa 12 years to do the same. Africa is rising and it needs a push. The rest of the world is languishing, and it too needs a push. Africa needs the world, and the world needs Africa. Each can give the other a push.”
President Kagame reminded the participants that Agriculture remains a crucial cornerstone to Africa’s economic transformation and must therefore be treated as a business and not just a subsistence activity.
President Kagame ended the session by answering a few questions from the public.
“it is very true that Africa is attractive and the whole world should see it for what it is as it is a place to make investments and expectations are high, but let me tell you the challenge that is in this; there is an entrenched and widespread mentality in Africa; we also see it that way unfortunately. It’s as if Africa being a destination for investment and good place with huge potential is expected to develop and have an impact on our people meant to happen by somebody doing us a favor. Many people say what is China doing in Africa? Whether old or new, colonialism is bad. Is the old colonialism over to the point those behind it are asking about new colonialism? Why is Africa being seen as a playground for new or old perpetrators of colonialism? Africa has made itself a permanent victim to stay in between. When do we Africans get to make our choices and own them? As Africans we need to be players in the global arena just like everyone else.”
The session was attended by eminent persons including former Botswana President, Festus Moghae, Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, among others.
President Kagame will tomorrow participate as a panelist in a High level debate on the topic “Africa Transforming Africa: Is this Africa’s Hour?”