Describing Africa as “a rich continent, if not the richest”, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Africa has the world’s second fastest economic growth rates, the world’s fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment, and is in possession of nearly 30 percent of the earth’s remaining mineral resources, with a young, vibrant population.
“Indeed, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies in 2018 are in Africa. And yet, the masses of the African peoples remain poor, when we have no reason to be poor,” he added.
Thus, in order to create prosperity for the African peoples, President Akufo-Addo indicated that “our first priority must be to change the structures of the economies on the continent, which are dependent largely on the production and export of raw materials. It is this reliance on raw material exports that feeds our dependence on foreign aid, and subjects us to the politics of the West.”
The willingness of many African youths to cross the Sahara desert on foot and drown in the Mediterranean Sea, in a desperate bid to reach the mirage of a better life in Europe, he explained, should serve as a wakeup call for governments on the continent.
“Africa needs to transform stagnant, jobless economies, built on the export of raw materials and unrefined goods, to value-added economies that provide jobs, to build strong middle-class societies and lift the masses of our people out of dire poverty. We can only do so if we participate in the global market place on the basis not of the exports of raw materials, but on the basis of things we make,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday when he delivered the keynote address at the 5th German-African Economic Forum, held in Dortmund, Germany.
The continent’s second priority, he said, should be to increase trade and investment co-operation, and not aid, as it is one of the ways healthy economic relations can be developed between Africa and Germany, and, indeed, with the rest of the world.
“With Africa’s population set to reach some 2 billion people in 20 years’ time, there are immense opportunities to bring prosperity to Africa and to Germany too, with hard work, enterprise and creativity. I urge German organisations and companies present to take advantage of this, and enhance their trade relations with Africa,” the President said.
He continued, “The time to deepen German-African trade and investment is now. We must generate investments in agro-industry, the energy and power sectors, and infrastructural development of Africa, capable of producing positive outcomes for the private sectors, especially small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), of Germany and Africa.”
Thirdly, President Akufo-Addo urged for co-operation between Germany and Africa in ensuring the promotion of transparent and inclusive policy and decision-making processes at local, national, regional, continental and global levels.
“Fourthly, in order for us to build an Africa that meets the aspirations of the African peoples and opens up opportunities for all, especially its youth, we must also prioritise our budgetary arrangements to ensure that funds are available to strengthen key institutions of state, such as the Legislature, Judiciary, and fiscal institutions,” he said.
He continued, “It is important that we promote and develop a culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, whereby these institutions of state see themselves as independent public entities serving the wider public interest, not the temporary conveniences of governments of the day. We have a responsibility to make our countries attractive to our young people. They should feel they have a worthwhile future, if they stay and help build their nations.”