"The African economy which largely depends on the exploitation of natural resources should move on to become a transformation economy." This was one of the key messages of President Donald Kaberuka on the first day of the World Economic Forum on Africa taking place in Addis Ababa, from 9 to 11 May 2012.
During the press conference jointly hosted by the Co-Chairmen of the Forum, President Kaberuka recalled that Africa has recorded an average economic growth rate of about 6 percent which puts the continent in second place after Asia. He indicated, however, that this level of performance has still not protected Africa from the global crisis as the continent is not as resilient as it was in 2008 in resisting external shocks.
From now on, the president noted, the continent should manage its natural resources better so as to create more wealth, attract investment, and generate employment, particularly by taking advantage of the current salary increases taking place in Asia, and also expand its economic growth base to benefit the poorer sections of the society.
President Kaberuka and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown proceeded to open the high-level meeting on education and technology in the presence of numerous African ministers of education and representatives from the private sector. President Kaberuka also presided over the launch of the Africa Lions Initiative.
For his part, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, presided over the plenary session which was had the theme: "The place of Africa in the World Economy." During the session, in which several African heads of state and government participated, the panelists expressed their optimism about the prospects for development and the current crop of leadership across the continent. Innovation, technology, agricultural transformation, education, governance, infrastructure, SMEs and international partnerships were on the centre stage of the discussions.
The 2012 forum is co-chaired by Kofi Annan, Donald Kaberuka (AfDB), Doug McMillion (Wal-Mart), Gao Xiaqing (China), Monhala Hlahla (IDC) and Bekele Geleta (International Red Cross) and Adrian Monck (Moderator)