Kofi Annan, Chair, Africa Progress Panel: From Crisis to Opportunity
The economic crisis, with its origins in developed countries, is hitting Africa hard and is underscoring the region’s continued vulnerability. It also reminds us of the great progress Africa has been making in recent years, and what can be achieved amidst adversity.
The world needs to emerge from this crisis with an economic system that is more sustainable and more equitable, one that not only better integrates African and other emerging nations into the global system, but that includes them in the architecture of international institutions, with a voice commensurate with their role in human development.
Emerging from the crisis is also a clear opportunity for Africa to pioneer a low-carbon development model. As the recently launched Africa Progress Panel Annual Report points out, the economic, climate change and food security crises are all linked. They cannot be tackled separately.
More investment is needed in Africa’s real economy, particularly infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and communications. Investment in these sectors will not only generate jobs and boost trade in Africa, but also create markets for the world. Priority also needs to be given to job creation, integrating climate change into development strategies, and addressing food security.
Africa now faces the extraordinary task, at a time of economic crisis, of maintaining stability and progress, including growth, poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Everyone needs to contribute. Business has a key role, as do Africa’s trading and donor partners. But the primary responsibility to make it happen rests with Africa’s political leaders, who must heed their commitments regarding governance, accountability and transparency. Africa needs to drive its own development agenda as the basis for partnership and shared responsibility for progress.