Africa must own development metrics – Dr Afriyie

Africa needs its own development metrics to enable the continent to grow at its own pace and effectively tackle its challenges the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has said.

Opening the 3rdAfrica Economic Summit in Accra yesterday, he said the economic growth of the continent could be sped up if the countries joined forces to leverage their potential and change the negative narrative.

“In the economic realm, we should not use Western standards to define things and make things difficult for us. We are perpetually at the bottom of the heap because there are so many things that are going on for us that they do not have.I’m not romanticising poverty, there’s poverty here. We have to address those issues. We can grow at our own pace and then get our own development act together,” he said.

The two-day annual summit has assembled government officials, businessmen, heads of financial institutions and investors from about 10 countries including Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, South Africa  and Liberia to discuss  Africa’s economic challenges and solutions.

A white paper would be released afterward detailing coordinated actions that governments and institutions should implement for the improvement of Africa’s economy and handle other challenges on the continent.

Dr Afriyiesaid although he recognised the need to address challenges, there were also miserable societies in Europe but due to the parameter set by the west, the focus has been on Africa’s plight irrespective of efforts being made to tackle them.

He cited instances in the health sector, where Africans health professionals had reduced drastically many diseases including Guinea worm and Buruli ulcer through collaboration.

 “We have to realise our potential because Africa looks like our narrative has been hijacked with many negative stories and then we tend to believe them. It is actually a mind game changer for even definition of development. And so the standards that even the West sets for us, in terms of development, we should question and even reject them so we develop our own metric,” he said.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Summit, Mr Brian Reuben, said the summit was a declaration of war on the weak economy in Africa and a clarion call for collaboration to strengthen economic growth.

“We need to show the international community that Africa is strong. We need to be able to negotiate better with anybody who is interested in Africa, whether China, Germany or United States.

“We need to realise that the solutions to our problems must come from within us. We need to be able to tell our story ourselves from our perspective, say Africa has huge resources and we cannot allow ourselves just to be controlled by external influences,” he said.

The Director of Investor Service of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr Edward Ashong Larbi, highlighted the investment opportunities in Ghana and invited investors to do business in Ghana.


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