Africa could develop faster if states increase trading among each other and also exploit the untapped skilled labour – various business leaders have said at the ongoing 47th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We keep talking about intra – African trade or how it is difficult for Africans to move across Africa, but nothing changes,” President Paul Kagame said, noting that “there is a contradiction in Africa’s quest for prosperity and the things we know we have to do but don’t do”.
President Kagame was speaking at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos. He was part of the panel discussion themed; Building Africa- “Industrialization is Key to Africa’s Growth Potential”.
Other panelists included; Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Nigeria, MTN Group Executive Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, and CEO of Transnet, Siyabonga Gama.
The panel said that Africa’s growth moment had no problem with access to finance since banking institutions are ready for finance projects. However, there is a missing link on investment in skills development and education which impede the continents potentials.
“Money is not a problem at all but we cannot be meeting every year for the last ten years and nothing happens. Something radical must happen now” Phuthuma Nhleko said.
To have that radical moment happen, President Kagame and Nhleko said that there is need for a sense of urgency – to act now, especially investing in skills development.
“Things are happening in Africa but we need a sense of urgency to do things that haven’t been done” Kagame said.
He said there are many Africans that can deliver but need opportunities to share their skills. The president cited an example of large buildings recently inaugurated in Rwanda built by Rwandan, Kenyan & Zimbabwean engineers.
President Kagame on intra Africa trade and infrastructure development on the continent, advised that there must be strategic investment in key priority areas which are urgent.
“We cannot do all things at the same time, we have to prioritize, make good choices and look for the right partnerships. There should be a vision and a strategy to realize that vision and has to be carried through. There is no shortcut” Kagame said.
For Kagame, this is evident in Rwanda’s progress and current transformation which is a result of proper mindset across the country, self-evaluation and having rules and laws- that everyone must respect.
The 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting started on January 17th-20th in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, under the theme Responsive and Responsible Leadership. More than 3,000 participants from nearly 100 countries will participate in over 400 sessions.