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General News of Thursday, 23 March 2017

Source: thestatesmanonline.com

Depend less on aid - Akufo-Addo urges African leaders

African leaders have been called upon to institute and implement pragmatic programmes that will positively reflect in the lives of their citizens.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who made the call, said although he was not against the International Monetary Fund, he believed African countries could have programmes that would address the needs of their people.

The president made the call when he took his turn in a presidential debate with Senegalese President, Macky Sal, to discuss how Africa's sub-regions can work more closely together, at the 5th edition of the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speaking on global events that had made headlines recently, President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that too much of Africa's development had been centered on events outside the continent's borders and there was a need to focus more on "what is taking place on the continent and inside our countries."

He further expressed his desire to position Ghana beyond aid and charity but rather "dependent on its own resources and thinking."

According to President Nana Akufo-Addo, "intra-continental trade in Africa is the lowest on the globe", with figures from the World Trade Organisation posting trade among African countries at just 18%, compared to 52% and 69% for Asia and Europe, respectively.

President Nana Akufo-Addo finished by thanking his Senegalese counterpart, adding "West Africa owes a debt of gratitude to the lucidity of Senegal's reaction to [Gambia's former] President Jammeh's decision to stay," because for the first time in Economic Community of West African States history, all 15 member countries of the regional bloc had democratically elected governments in place.

President Sall, for his part, stressed the need for Africa to collaborate with international investors as its private sector alone "is not enough to meet the entire investment needs of the continent."

Instead of putting the two against each other, he encouraged cooperation "between Africa's private sector and foreign private sector investment in Africa".

He also praised the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for supporting Africa's development through key trade partnerships.

President Sall also took a strong stance against Africa's supposed role in Europe's ongoing migrant crisis. "Africa and Europe have a long history but [...] what I cannot accept is the characterisation of African migration," he said.

He made it clear that it was in the continent's best interest that migration decreased because Africa's "needs labour to succeed in its emergence."

Both leaders agreed that a free trade zone across Africa, discussed at the African Union in Addis Ababa, was important and long overdue.