Africa Rich Yet Poor
Durban – Although Africa is rich with mineral resources, its people will not be able to realize the full benefit of these opportunities unless the continent acts now to develop its human capacity. “We have vast tracts of unused arable land that could feed the world. “We have a young population, a fast-growing middle class. The mineral resources we have, though abundant, are finite. They are prone to massive fluctuations in demand and price,” the Deputy President said in Durban on Friday.
“Unless we have the technology, the knowledge and the industrial capacity to beneficiate these mineral resources, our people will only derive a fraction of their true economic value. We need, as responsive and responsible leadership, to take a long view,” he said at the end of the three-day World Economic Forum on Africa.
As the curtain was drawn on the meeting, the Deputy President reminded delegates that the future of many Africans depends on the decisions they take going forward.
More than 1000 global business leaders, Heads of State and civil society gathered at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre since Wednesday to discuss some of the critical economic issues facing the continent.
“We need to address the challenges of the present, but we need to equip the next generation to address the challenges of the future. Our attention now needs to be on action and deliverables.”
When delegates convene again in 2018, they need to demonstrate the gains that have been made in expanding economic opportunities for the people of Africa, he said.
“We need to demonstrate how the economic status of women has improved; how we have expanded youth employment and skills development.
“We need to demonstrate how our governments are managing public finances and allocating resources more effectively to support inclusive growth,” said the Deputy President.
Most importantly, he said, Africans need to demonstrate how “we are massively expanding the provision of early childhood development, education, skills and training”.
To achieve progress in these areas, bold and responsible leadership was required.
Governments needed to give leadership, but so too does the private sector, civil society and labor.
“We need a leadership that puts the needs of citizens first. As we leave Durban, let us leave understanding the urgency of our task.”
[Source: South African Government News Agency (SAnews.gov.za) -/- Media Relations]
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