African countries lack role models to develop: experts


AfricaACCRA, (Xinhua) –?A senior Ghanaian economist said here on Monday African countries lacked the proper role models in their quest for sustainable development.

He therefore urged them to synergize among themselves to achieve their developmental goals.

Professor Cletus Dordunoo made this observation in an interview with Xinhua on the sideline of the 2013 edition of the African Business Leaders Forum (ABFL) here.

In contrast to what happens in Africa, the university don said one of the secrets behind Asia?s success was that the advancement of a few countries served as the magnetic pull or role model for the others.

According to him, the contagion effect of such a development was that, once a country developed and shared borders with others, these other countries learnt from them.

?Africa there have not been enough success stories which would serve as examples and role models,? Dordunoo continued.

Answering questions specifically on the focus of the continent? s development agenda, the university don averred that at least a third of Arica was doing well, a third was hanging in there, and a third was in trouble.

?So the focus must be different, depending on where you are: those which have the initial conditions well prepared should forge ahead; those in crisis must be helped so that they are able to put the crisis behind them and begin to take on the normal development path,? Dordunoo insisted.

He therefore urged African countries which had stable and favourable conditions to help those in crisis such as Sudan and Mali which have been devastated by civil wars and armed conflicts.

Africa?s growth, averaging about five percent per annum, between 2010 and 2012, has been described as robust, as against that of the advanced economies, with an average growth of two percent.

As European countries and the US are struggling with a deficit of about five percent, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast a deficit below one percent for Africa in 2012 and 2013.

?Despite these optimistic forecasts, nearly 50 percent of the population in sub-Sahara Africa still live on less than one U.S. dollar per day,-the world?s highest rate of extreme poverty,? Edith Dankwa, Chief Executive Officer of the Business and Financial Times newspaper (B&FT), organizers of the forum, lamented.

She described as ironic the fact that African countries could not trade among themselves, while seeking to increase their trading volumes with the rest of the world.

?If we would like to see trade as a necessary vehicle to drive us into economic prosperity, we must first advocate the breakdown of trade barriers and encourage intra-African trade,? she urged.

Dankwa however called for that trade to be supported with massive infrastructure roll-out which currently constrained the ability of Africans to engage in international trade.

Ghana, for instance, needs an estimated sum of two billion U.S. dollars annually for infrastructure development to maintain the current growth rates, according to her.

?Deficits in infrastructure funding could derail Africa?s growth prospects,? the CEO submitted, and called for a massive investment to save the situation.

The African Business Leaders Forum (ABFL) is an annual event which pools some of Africa?s best business strategists, motivational thinkers and business leaders to dialogue on selected topics in a bid to resolve the myriad of challenges facing the continent.

This year?s event, with the theme of ?Setting the Next Agenda for Africa?, saw over 250 participants attending the opening ceremony.

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