29 May 2012

Africa: Private Sector Development Key to Africa's Growth - AfDB Report

The 2012 African Development Report, launched on Monday, in Arusha, Tanzania has identified the private sector as the major driver of sustainable African development.

The report, sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB), dwells on the challenges facing the continent's private sector development and highlights ways of addressing the various challenges facing African countries.

Mr Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President, said during the launch that "after being hamstrung for decades by difficult political and economic conditions and burdensome government policies, the private sector is now poised to become the main engine of growth for the African continent".

Kaberuka, who pledged the bank's commitment toward the private sector development in Africa, also urged the organised private sector to be proactive on issues of wealth creation.

"The African Development Bank is committed to addressing the constraints on private sector development.

"We believe that private sector development is fundamental for creating inclusive growth through employment creation.

"The private sector is also a provider of essential goods and services to the public, and a key source of the revenues that African countries need to meet their development challenges," Kaberuka said.

He said that after 40 years of AfDB promotion of the development of private sector, the bank has made the sector one of the four priorities of its Medium Term Strategy (MTS) for 2008-12, along with infrastructure, governance, and higher education.

In order to generate a greater developmental impact, Kaberuka said that AfDB has integrated private sector development in its operations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the development blue print identified support for regional member countries in improving business environments, and strengthening their international competitiveness as strong indicators.

Others are the broadening of participation and inclusion in the private sector and supporting local enterprise development for spurring robust employment creation and improving social well-being.

It also seeks to encourage the embedment of social and environmental responsibility, sustainability, and good corporate citizenship in private sector development.

The report said that while private sector helped in reducing poverty, reliable statistics on private sector activities in African countries remained very scarce.

It equally reported laws and regulations critical for private sector development and corporate governance were undermined by poor monitoring and enforcement.

"Developing Africa's infrastructure at the pace necessary to unleash its economic potential requires a concerted effort to improve planning, preparation, and procurement capacities in line ministries and relevant sector units; mobilise financial resources; and adopt a regional approach to infrastructure development," it says.

NAN quotes the report as saying that Africa's private sector accounted for more than 80 per cent of total production, two-thirds of total investment, and three-fourths of total credit to the economy between 1996 and 2008.

The private sector, it said was also responsible for 90 per cent of formal and informal employment.


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