The fifth African Leadership Forum (ALF), hosted by the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, and organised by UONGOZI Institute took place in Kigali, Rwanda from Thursday 02nd August, 2018 to Friday 03rd August, 2018.

This year, the ALF, under the theme “Financing Africa’s Transformation for Sustainable Development” sought to provide a platform to deliberate on the prospect of increased, improved, and effective financing for Africa’s transformation.

The Keynote Address was delivered by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda. Five former African Heads of State were in attendance, including H.E. Joaquim Chissano, former President of the Republic of Mozambique; H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; H.E. Armando Guebuza, former President of the Republic of Mozambique; H.E. Moncef Marzouki, former President of the Republic of Tunisia; and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former President of the Republic of Somalia. The Forum was also attended by over 100 distinguished leaders from the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society.

In his welcoming remarks, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa underscored the importance of the Forum’s topic.

He stated, “In last year’s Forum, we discussed security as the key to sustainable development in Africa. This year, we decided to go further. Development requires investment; investment in philosophy, investment in organisation, investment in vision, and above all, investment in capital.”

President Mkapa added, “We thought we should exchange views on how to mobilise investment for sustainable development in our countries. The aim is to see how we can accelerate the process of economic transformation.”

In his address, President Paul Kagame stressed that Africa can finance its own development. He urged that Africa has everything it needs, and the means to acquire whatever it lacks.

“There is no doubt that Africa can finance its own development. We know this because Africa finances other people’s development, and always has,” he said.

He continued, “But we have to take responsibility for misallocation of Africa’s resources and take steps to correct that. I would rather argue that we need to mobilise the right mindset rather than more funding.”

President Kagame further mentioned three prerequisites for accelerating economic transformation in Africa.

“First, accountability, this is the foundation of good politics, which is effective and citizen-focused,” he stated, and then added, “Second, regional integration, working together across our continent. The success of financial reform of the African Union adopted in 2016 shows that Africa has the will and ability to fund common priorities.”

President Kagame concluded that the third prerequisite is the enabling of African businesses to grow and create jobs for young people.

“This is about improving the regulatory climate for enterprise and trade, building deeper capital in markets, lowering the high cost of sending remittances and changing the mindset of our youth,” he added.

Similar to previous events, the ALF 2018 was held under Chatham House Rules, whereby participants are able to speak candidly without concerns for being personally misquoted for the views expressed.

Under the overarching theme, the Forum considered three sub-themes, namely Domestic Resource MobilisationHalting Illicit Financial Flows, and the Global Development Financing Architecture.

Speakers at the event included Dr. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Dr. Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank; Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, former Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya; Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; and Amb. Dr. Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director General, World Trade Organization.