What does Africa need?

Topic: Economic Development in Africa

Arthur Mutambara: If as Africans . . . If as a generation of Africans we’re able to make African countries globally competitive economy and also build regional integration ________, A.U., the United States of Africa . . . if we can make Africa as a continent economically successful, then that’s the legacy we seek as a generation. Our legacy is around the economy. Our mandate is an economic mandate. That’s the legacy that we seek. We are sick and tired as Africans of being beggars. We’re sick and tired of these cycles of poverty and conflict. We want Africa to be a successful continent. We don’t seek charity. We don’t seek aid from anyone. We want economic development, we want investment so that Africans can be successful through economic development, through investment. We’re saying as Africans we want to be in charge of our natural resources. We want to make sure that we are producing refined products so that we’re selling cars. We’re selling computers to Europe, to America. We want to sell cars to Detroit and not _______ from Africa. So our legacy should be a legacy that makes Africa economically successful through value added manufacturing, through beneficiation, through the use of new technologies – wireless power, wireless telecoms, WIFI, WIMAX – through biotechnology, through clean energy. We have a unique opportunity actually to use _______ and cleaner technologies than the rest . . . than advanced countries. We have a unique opportunity to run where others walked. So that’s the legacy we seek – a revolution in economy; a revolution driven by science and technology in Africa so that Africans can become global players that are respected because of connectivity; that are respected because of output. We seek to become competitors to America, competitors to Japan, and competitors to Europe, and not second class citizens _______ globalization. That’s our legacy.

I think my major philosophy is rooted in two aspects.  The first aspect is that we should believe in institution building and not personalities.  Institutions should be _______ our activities.  All our activities must be based on institutions and not personalities.  So in Africa our challenge is how do we build good institutions?  How do you build a value system?  And we should always depend on institutions and value systems; but it takes time to develop value systems.  It takes time to build institutions; but there is no alternative to institution building and the development of a value system.  The second piece of my philosophy is around science and technology – that we need to make sure we use science and technology as key drivers to bring about economic transformation, which then empowers our people economically so that their ________ conditions are improved in terms of access to health, access to education, access to jobs.  The right to a job should be understood as a human right.  And that there has to be some degree of equitable distribution of wealth so that the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” is not draconian; but at the same time respecting the role of the market, competition, creativity, innovation.  But there has to be an element of social justice that says inclusiveness – participatory democratic existence that says the people must participate in the economy.  These are the ideas that drive my philosophy on the economy and around economics.

Recorded On: 7/5/07

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