- President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar has called spade a spade when he told a symposium in Shanghai, China, that leadership is key to Africa’s development.
He says lack of opportunities and leadership have been pushing African reformers and talents to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Mr Ravalomanana concurs that the concept of absolute power for power’s sake is no longer useful in a modern context.
“We need reformers and leaders who can deliver results,” Malagasy President says.
President Ravalomanana asks leaders to make straight talks and tell the truth, even if people don’t like to hear it.
He says it is unacceptable for poverty to exist in an alarming rate in a world of abundance such as Africa, where people are dying of hunger, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Mr Ravalomanana sees Africa as a complex continent with 53 countries. He says each country is a different development stage and has its own set of problems and challenges.
He says since African values and mindsets retard progress, the continent’s challenge now is to preserve its good culture and transform those that hinder progress.
Malagasy leader has also got an axe to grind with colonialism and imperialism, describing them as factors that have helped to keep the continent’s abject poverty. “The legacy of colonialism was like a weight tied to our legs. We want to run fast, but the weight slows us down. Colonialism has left our people feeling inferior,” he said. He however quickly says he is not in China to heap blame on colonialists.
Mr Ravalomanana believes that globalisation is a good concept but wonders how Africa can compete with other continents when huge trade barriers have been placed in front of it at the international market.
He also takes on donors for merely providing financing without providing ambitious development plans to African countries. Malagasy leader exonerates the ADB group that has been providing support to his country from blame.
Given this picture, Mr. Ravalomanana focused on his country’s realities and its aspiration to eradicate poverty and move towards abundance. To achieve this, he said good leadership as well as creativity and discipline were necessary.
President Pedro Pires of Cape Verde says his country, a chain of islands, which is part of initial globalisation efforts, got independent with just US $300,000 in its coffers.
Despite being faced with numerous challenges, he says, they have not lost hope and confidence. “We started off with a policy of proximity, political realism and diversification of our external relations. We are committed to building a credible nation, with efficient institutions, which enjoys the confidence of the people,” he stressed.
President Pires says his country’s experience has bee characterised by enlightened committed leadership based on inclusive policies and efficiency. Commending the African bank group for standing firm with his country, President Pires warns partners not to turn their back to Cape Verde simply because it has succeed.
The President of the bank group, Donald Kaberuka, extends thanks and appreciation to the Chinese authorities for hosting the bank’s annual meetings.
Several important dignitaries, including the Governor of the China Central Bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, and the UNECA Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh attend the lectures.
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