TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

AFRICAN LEADERS MUST SHAPE UP

By NBF News
Listen to article

The outlook for Africa is bleak but not despairing, the panel's report says

African leaders have been told by former UN boss Kofi Annan to shape up to their responsibilities in the face of the global recession.

He said aid donors needed to honour their commitments too, but limiting the damaging effects of the economic crisis rested with leaders on the continent.

Mr Annan was speaking at the launch of a report that urged Africa to drive its own development.

It also noted corruption is costing Africa around $150bn (£92bn) a year.

'Transformed'
The Africa Progress report was produced by a panel of 11 prominent figures – including former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, campaigner Bob Geldof and child rights campaigner Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela's wife – set up to monitor the G8 development commitments made two years ago.

The BBC's Karen Allen in Cape Town, where the report was launched at the World Economic Forum, says the outlook from the 11-member panel, in terms of economic growth, is bleak but not despairing.

“Africa has transformed in my lifetime and the progress reached so far is proof that concrete achievements are possible amidst adversity,” Mr Annan said.

“The economic, climate change and food security crises are all linked. They cannot be tackled separately.

“We need a new development model that provides security, stability, and addresses people's needs. Everyone needs to contribute.

“Business has a key role, as do Africa's trading and donor partners. But the primary responsibility to make it happen rests with Africa's political leaders.”

Civil wars
Our correspondent says mining, manufacturing and remittances have been particularly badly hit by the turning economic tide, with the UN scaling down its projections and forecasting a dismal 2% growth across the continent by the end of this year.

Figures released on Wednesday show South Africa's manufacturing output fell by a record 21% over the last year – two weeks after the country went into recession for the first time in 17 years.

The report says while Africa has made some progress in the past year, there have been glaring setbacks with coups in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Madagascar.

The Africa panel said the number of wars was sharply down.

Fifteen years ago there were 13 civil wars. Now there are just three: Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, the authors say.

But analysts said the report failed to mention ongoing conflicts in Chad, the Central African Republic and Ethiopia, not to mention low-level insurgencies in at least another four states – including Nigeria.