President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has deplored the attitude of Africans aiding foreigners to siphon the continent’s resources.
“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.
He held that it was high time Africans prioritised its interest above any other ulterior motive to push the collective good of the continent.
The President was contributing to a panel discussion on building an “Africa Beyond Aid” by exploring ways in which the continent can optimise the use of its own resources to drive development.
Convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the dialogue themed; “African money for Africa’s development: A Future Beyond Aid” brought together influential personalities drawn from industry, traditional and religious background, academia, development and government agencies as well as youth on the African continent.
President Akufo-Addo in his submission insisted that an African beyond Aid was achievable judging from the vast resources the continent was endowed with but, there was a need for change in mindset.
“African beyond aid is not anti-foreign or hostile to foreign investment but has everything to do with using our own resources to be able to stand on our feet.
“We need to ask ourselves what our priority is. Are we protecting our interests? 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 maintained.
According to the President, the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was the watershed to drive regional trade and integration as well as increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African economies.
“We will have challenges and we are beginning to see them but I believe it is something we can overcome,” he stated.
Citing Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire’s new cocoa floor price implementation which begins in 2020 and expected to rake in some extra $400 for every tonne of cocoa exported from both countries, President Akufo-Addo enjoined African states to add value to its raw materials for improved revenue.
“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 chart our own course,” he charged.
In an opening address, the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the African Regional Bureau of the UNDP, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa believed an Africa Beyond Aid was not far-fetched once there is a shift “from aid as a life support to effectively investing Africa’s resources and wealth to transform Africa’s development.”
She submitted that in a bid to harness the continent’s resources, “it must benefit all and not just a few”, adding that all efforts must be made to support and sustain the AfCFTA in line with regional and global initiatives like the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
“African countries must reverse the mentality that views foreign aid as a permanent life support mechanism. Aid must be viewed as an enabler, a toll to get Africa to the next level,” she charged.
Ms Eziakonwa to this end expressed the UN’s readiness to “stand with African countries as they embark on this arduous transition” through identifying impactful pathways the continent could chart, finding creative use of technology, enhance contracting frameworks and help build partnership initiatives in line with best practices.