10 June 2009

African Leaders Need to Turn Economic Crisis Around - Report

Cape Town — The global economic crisis facing Africa can be turned into an opportunity for the continent, according to the Africa Progress Panel's (APP) Annual Report for 2009.

The APP comprises former United Nations Secretary General Koffi Annan, President of the Foundation for community development, Graca Machel and Govenor of Botswana, Linah Mohohlo.

Speaking on behalf of the panel at the release of the report at the opening of the 19th World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday, Mr Annan said despite the effects of the crunch, leaders should turn the crisis around.

"African leaders should turn the current global economic meltdown into an opportunity for the continent based on shared responsibility with their international partners," the panel said.

According to the report, the crisis was hitting the African continent more than any other region; however it stated that more investment was needed in the continent's real economy to help the situation.

"This particularly in infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and communications.

"We believe that if given a chance Africa can provide a valuable growth platform for the global economy and pioneer clean development models that contribute to global efforts to manage climate change," he said on behalf of the panel.

Mr Annan said Africa had transformed in his lifetime and that progress made on the continent was proof that concrete achievements were possible.

"The economic, climate change and food security crises are all linked. They cannot be tackled separately. We need a new development model that provides security, stability and address people's needs," he said on behalf of the panel.

Businesses as well as everyone needed to contribute but the primary responsibility lies with African political leaders, he said.

The report also found that priority needs to be given to job creation and addressing food security. Furthermore, African leaders must champion a strong common African position on climate change.

Other matters highlighted by the report was that Africa needed immediate assistance to maintain financial flows and stability, adding that donors must also deliver on their aid commitments to help government meet their needs.

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