Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has called for the adoption of a new paradigm of development, which is peoples centred without yielding to the demands of special interest groups.
He said the new paradigm must have a broad consensus, defense of its own people and autonomous of any influence.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur made the call at a panel discussion on the first Meles Zenawi Symposium on Development, organised by the Meles Zenawi Foundation in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Kigali, Rwanda.
The symposium which was on the theme: ?African Democratic Developmental State,? was to create a platform for rigorous intellectual deliberation and in depth analysis of issues related to development.
The concept was inspired by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia?s commitment to see the state play a prominent role in building robust accountable institutions and facilitating rapid sustainable development.
It is also considered as a viable alternative to the neoliberal model of the 1980s and 1990s.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur called for the creation of political space for government to pursue the long term development interest of the people without yielding to donor and special interest groups.
He said the economic policy of any nation is not neutral to the people it affects and as such affects different groups differently.
He urged African governments to pursue the elements of developmental state which are important so far as there are democracies in them.
He also called for the integration of the countries in the various economic zones in Africa to create alternative markets for the development of their countries.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda stated that the forum is a befitting tribute to the late Prime Minister Zenawi?s vision and intellectual legacy.
He said late Prime Minister Zenawi conception of a developmental state rejects the false choice of the free market over state arguing that there cannot be any developed economy in the world without a strong state and the markets working in tandem.
He said the orthodoxy of shrinking the power of the state to the barest minimum and replacing it with externally funded non-state actors such as NGOs leaves Africa with no viable path out poverty.
President Kagame said the issue of democracy has always been there and that true democracy is the one which belong to the citizens and not the false one of institutionalised corruption and division or rent seeking.
He said Africa cannot be bullied to accept policies that misrepresent the people and do them harm in the end.
He said African intellectuals, think-tanks and others who should be speaking up must be fearless in articulating the continents stories and aspirations for the future.
President Kagame said the one size fit-all definition for democracy usually does not work since things are completely different in many countries.
He said creating political space means there is room for the people irrespective of their background being able to express their interest and grievances thereby contributing to the common good of the people.
Mr Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia stated that every developmental state should be obsessive to bring about radical transformation in the lives of people who are in abject poverty.
He said the idea must also be shared by majority of the people in the country otherwise there would not be social capital to help in the implementation of the idea.
He said for the developmental state to succeed there should be policy space from the donor community and international NGOs from imposing their policies on Africa countries to change their policies which is has been designed to solve domestic problems.
Prime Minister Desalegn stated that the proponent of the idea argue that in Africa it is possible to have democratic developmentalism, which promotes pluralism and democratic activism then there would be democratic competition and policy continuity when parties change from time to time.
He said there are dominant party democracies in Japan and Sweden which stayed in power for decades and that Africa countries could also have dominant system where democracy could be exercise in full.
He said in democratic developmental state also needs for institutional setups that could cater for diversities and regional differences of the people in a country.
Madam Azeb Mesfin, Executive Director of the Meles Zenawi Foundation commended President Kagame and the people of Rwanda for accepting to host the maiden symposium in the country.
She expressed the hope that the high level discussions by key policy makers would go a long way to contribute to continental conversation in search of different options for development.
Source : GNA/newsghana.com.gh