Afro-optimism on the rise: Zuma

25 June 2010

Africa can no longer be viewed only as a destination for development aid – the continent is open for business, South African President Jacob Zuma told global business leaders in Toronto on the eve of the G8 and G20 Summits.

Addressing the G20 business leaders on Thursday, Zuma said Africa’s recent economic showing was “proving Afro-pessimists wrong.”

He pointed out that sub-Saharan Africa’s current growth rate was surpassed only by China and India – a fact that he attributed to good policies and regulations as well as huge infrastructure programmes.

“There is every expectation that Africa’s current pace of growth will remain at a high level, at around six percent per year.”

“Our movement forward will be greatly enhanced by the speeding up of economic reforms to enable more inclusive and faster growth,” Zuma said, calling for fair trade for the continent.

Together with the developed world, he said, there had to be ways to promote stronger and more effective international partnerships for growth and development.

Zuma said African leaders do not want to create the impression that they had come cap-in-hand to ask for favours. “We reiterate that Africa is open for business. It is open for trade and investment.”

World Bank reform

He emphasised that changes in both the voting structure and leadership of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank would be crucial in ensuring a more stable and equitable financial infrastructure.

“The developing world has an equal right to run these institutions,” Zuma said.

Reform of global financial systems will be a priority issue for many G20 members; China, India, and Brazil will join South Africa in arguing that their economic strength needs to be better reflected in the architecture of major institutions.

Fifa World Cup

With the 2010 Fifa World Cup in full swing, the President said South Africa will never be the same again, and that the country’s successful hosting of the event had again proven Afro-pessimists wrong.

“More than the infrastructure that our future generations will inherit, we remain hopeful that the various skills that our people acquired since we started working on this Fifa World Cup project will prove useful going forward.”

Over and above the economic benefits, Zuma said, there would also be a legacy of education for the African continent, driven in particular by the 1Goal Education for All Campaign.

Source: BuaNews