Africa advised on development
Dar es Salaam: Africa needs to continue working hand in hand with developed nations while opening up to emerging developed countries if the desired goals of the continent are to be met. Planning Commission (President's Office) Executive Secretary, Dr Philip Mpango who represented Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, said that the continent's old friends were still important and shouldn't be discarded altogether.
"The issue here really isn't about old and new friends but recognizing the opportunities of working with emerging markets and for the old re-focusing how to work with us better," he said. Dr Mpango was speaking at a dialogue organised by the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development aimed at strategizing on the coexistence of different partnerships with their different models in Africa, economic engagement and re-thinking of traditional approaches to development cooperation.
He explained that it went without saying that Africa in recent years had shown a lot of prospects and therefore there was a need for devising new partnerships to take advantage of it. Dr Mpango cited, for instance, that in 1990 Africa's global investment was pegged at 20 per cent, but today it had shot up to over 45 per cent and that in the 1990s developing countries imported 15 per cent of their merchandise from other developing countries while today, it’s 3 times that amount.
“Today, China is consuming over 50 per cent of the world’s cement; almost 50 per cent of the world’s iron ore, steel and pigs; a third of the world’s eggs. “Today, China is the world’s biggest consumer of minerals such as copper, aluminum and nickel. Today, net FDI inflows into China are around $180 billion, up from some $40 billion just ten years ago,” he explained. He said developed countries should not abandon their multilateral commitments and humanitarian assistance.
However, more importantly, they should refocus to investing more in Africa to unleash growth and need to revisit their trading relationship with Africa. “I believe, Africa has space for everybody. It is already accommodating everybody. We only need to polish the evolving partnerships in the light of the caveats I have just sketched,” he noted.
Dr Mpango said that he believes that Tanzania needs to partner with both old and newly found friends so as to transit to a middle income country by 2025 by prioritizing in infrastructure, agricultural productivity, increase industrialization and competitiveness, bridge skills gap and increase access to financial services.
“Besides mutually beneficial partnerships, successful transformation of Africa requires visionary leadership; organized concerted effort and the will, determination, confidence and discipline to shape its own destiny,” he urged.
The visiting Finnish Minister for International Development, Ms Heidi Hautala agreed that prosperity had increased globally including Africa and that the prospects were immense.
Ms Hautala said that new partnerships were indeed vital and admitted that as the world map had changed, developed nations were seeing the challenges of the emerging markets. She said that her government has recently revised their foreign policy and were looking at tax justice afresh. This comes at a time whereby there have been numerous scandals of overspending of donor funds and misappropriation.
The Institute of African Leadership dialogue was a high level one to reflect on the possible way forward for international partnerships and initiatives to better African owned objectives and strategies.