Accra, President Nana Akufo-Addo has challenged African countries to work on transforming the stagnant and jobless economies that have been built on the export of raw materials and unrefined products to value added economies.
This, he said, would provide jobs to build strong middle class society and lift the masses of the people out of poverty.
President Akufo-Addo, who was addressing the opening session of the maiden Harvard Africa Alumni Action Forum in Accra on the theme: Re-imagining Africa: A Call to Action, said a stable macro-economic environment and better productive jobs would be instrumental to tackling poverty on the continent.
Time has come to bring prosperity to Africa’s long suffering masses. We cannot bring prosperity to our people by maintaining the economic structures of the production and export of raw materials, he said.
It is our dependence on raw material exports that feeds our dependence on foreign aid. We cannot be doing the same things over and over again and expect a different result, he added.
President Akufo-Addo said the transformation of the African economies was the only way the continent could deal effectively with the greatest threat to the future, which is the widespread unemployment and poverty.
It is in this direction, he said, that Ghana had set the agenda of building with the private sector one factory in each of the country’s 216 districts through the development of strategic industries out of its abundant natural resources.
Touching on corruption, President Akufo-Addo said the African continent could not move forward without tackling the issue of extensive corruption that continue to challenge efforts for growth.
This, he said, requires sincere and effective policy of identifying and punishing acts of corruption and more importantly putting in place mechanisms that discouraged public and private actors in engaging in such an act.
President Akufo-Addo also called for strengthening of the Africa Union and the political will to make integration of the countries on the continent real.
He said integration was extremely important for the welfare of the 1.2 billion people on the continent and to make the AU the economic and political success.
President Akufo-Addo said peace and stability on the continent were key to achieving real progress.
He also called for a new generation of leaders, who were committed to governing the people according to the rule of law, respect of individual liberties and human rights and the principle of democratic accountability.
Leaders who are not satisfied with commodities, but ready to position their countries in the global market, those who are determined to free their people from the mindset of dependence, aid and charity, he said.
On her part, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is an alumnus of Harvard, said it was important to harness the group talent to come out with innovative ways to tackle the challenges of health, education, infrastructure and building strong democratic institutions.
Ms Kosi Yankey, Executive Director National Board for Small Scale Industries, said it was time to change the African narrative.
The world is changing and Africans must begin to make major strides and contributions as to how we can improve the lives of our citizenry and our communities, she said.
The Harvard Africa Alumni Action Forum is the first of its kind to be organized on the continent of Africa.
The forum brought together all stakeholders in the rise of Africa: development practitioners, politicians, business leaders, alumni, students, friends of Harvard University and of the continent.
Over the three days of the forum, there will be action tables featuring representatives from key development sectors, including healthcare, youth employment, education, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and industrialization.
Source: Ghana News Agency