The former leaders said failure to charter the right path to development, would lead to unequal distribution of wealth and conflicts.
In his opening remarks, during the African Leadership Forum that started yesterday in Dar es Salaam, the former Tanzania President, Mr Benjamin Mkapa, said African people must drive themselves to bring development in their countries, noting that no outsider will come and do so for them.
Mr Mkapa said it is upon African people to take the challenge into their own hands to ensure the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 is realized by using the vast and abund a n t natural resources found in the continent.
“This year’s theme is ‘How we can enable African businesses to t r a n s – form t h e Continent ‘ . . . more quickly and more sustainably. As you know, we have agenda 2063, that has set the goal of 2063 for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth, and sustainable development… how we get there will depend on how the people take up the challenge,” he explained.
Mr Mkapa, who was giving his opening remarks in the two-day leadership forum, cited Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s key conditions that would drive the country’s development after colonialism, which included people, land, good policies, good leadership.
“The land can be employed for the purpose, the people that we have can be motivated to take the responsibility, good policies enable people to use land for their development and good leadership will build the path for sustainable development,” he noted.
The former president stressed: “There is no question that the people must drive themselves to bring development in their own country, the challenge is theirs.”
He said there are examples of how land ownership have driven development in some countries but also how it has caused tension between people, particularly of different races.
“This is among areas that we will discuss including how you motivate people as well as how to empower them in terms of finance,” he added.
In his keynote speech, former South Africa’s Chairman of Chamber of Mines Mr Sipho Nkosi said the continent has development businesses over many years, stressing that Africa is the next thing to happen in terms of economic around the world.
“There has been great economic revolution around the continent, and this is attributed to government and business leaders.
The question is, are we satisfied of these changes in businesses. Could we as a continent and business do better, who should and how can we give African businesses legs to run on and to dominate the world?” he observed.
Mr Nkosi told the forum that Africa needed selfless leadership that would put in place implementable policies with a vision of growth and advancement of society to unleash the continent’s potential.
“Leaders in businesses and government need to have love and passion for their own people. They must play a key role in ensuring businesses make lives of people better by looking to what the countries have and using that to bring transformation,” he explained. He noted that Africa was well located in the world and can become a market and service provider due to its vast endowment including land.
“That’s why you see China and other countries come sniffing around because they know we have everything that the world has vast land, water, people, natural resources… we just need to unleash the continent’s potential, “he observed.
African Development Bank Senior Vice-President Frannie Leautier said lack of good leadership that plans well for the future and skills to transform a country’s economy is another challenge that contributes Africa’s slow pace into unleashing its potential.
Echoing the others, former South African President Thabo Mbeki emphasized that selfless leadership was vital in bringing about development in the continent.
Citing South Sudan, Mr Mbeki said reasons given in 2004 by the late South Sudan President John Garang are the same reason in current situation, citing high level of corruption among leaders, who look at citizens as instrument to achieve what they want.
Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano emphasized on finding tailored and workable models to use land to bring development to the continent, instead of employing foreign models.
(This article was originally published by Rose Athumani in the Daily News, 29th July 2016)