President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the quest of Africa to completely wean itself of foreign support, transform its economies and become self-sufficient was achievable.
He said looking at the vast resources that the continent was endowed with there was the need for Africans to change their attitude and mindset of dependence on overseas assistance, and leverage on those resources, via proper management, for its growth and rapid development.
The President was contributing to a panel discussion at the maiden high level Dialogue with African achievers held in Accra on Thursday, on the theme: “Africa’s Money for Africa’s Development: A Future beyond Aid.”
He insisted that it would be unrealistic for African nations to continue to depend on aid when the continent had the wherewithal to move itself to the level of the developed world.
President Akufo-Addo was emphatic that an Africa Beyond Aid was achievable, but this demanded that the Continent prioritised its needs, protected its interest and looked at ways to optimise the use of its resources and human capital to drive development.
He pointed out that an Africa beyond Aid meant a continent using its resources to stand on its feet and not hostile to foreign investment.
“We need to ask ourselves what our priority is. Are we protecting our interest? What are we doing for the mutual benefit of the continent? That is my understanding of building an Africa Beyond Aid and the future of our continent,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which would make the continent the world’s largest free trade area, was the game-changer in moving Africa to a situation beyond aid, as the development would boost its integration drive and development.
He called on African states to pursue value-addition in the exploitation of its resources, instead of becoming raw-material exporting economies.
“We cannot be doing the same things and expect different results. We need to create an enabling environment for the private sector. It is Africa’s time and we need to chart our own course.”
The President further called on Africans to desist from aiding foreigners to plunder the continents resources.
He said it was not acceptable for Africans to allow foreign persons who, under the guise of investing in the Africa, “steal from us.”
“People come to do business with us and they steal from us but we help them to steal. These people have nothing to lose in the end but we have everything to lose if we continue to assist them to loot our resources,” he said, urging Africans to seek their interest above any other consideration.
The Presidential Dialogue was organised by the United Nations Development Programme and hosted by President Akufo-Addo.
It was to enable participants, drawn from 45 African nations, to explore how the continent can use its own resources, creativity and innovation to effectively finance its development.