THE annual meetings of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) ended over the last weekend in Arusha with delegates expressing optimism that majority of the countries are posting fastest growth rates in spite of the global financial crisis.
Held on the theme 'Africa and Emerging Global Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities', the event witnessed the adoption of major decisions and initiatives aimed at strengthening the Bank's future operations.
In his keynote address, President Jakaya Kikwete was among those optimistic regarding Africa's future, saying that Africa was poised to become the world's new economic power house for the 21st century. He, however, rightly noted that the continent must continue to embrace sound economic and social policies that engendered prevailing progress.
The policies are inclusive and foster people's development and bring solutions to prevailing problems such as endemic poverty, joblessness and the sense of despair. Several other delegates pointed out that Africa's economies had an average growth of 5.9 per cent in 2011, despite the crisis in the Euro-zone and other parts of the world.
Africa is now regarded the continent of hope by many people including some western media who about a decade ago described it as doomed place. They called for caution and to guard against internal and external social, economic and political phenomena that could undermine development efforts.
The delegates cited examples of the so-called Arab spring that swept away regimes that operated undemocratically and without openness. Other examples included the situation in Mali, persistent instability in Guinea Bissau and the long-drawn mayhem in Somalia.
Africa can only sustain the unfolding social and economic dynamics by focusing on issues like employment creation and prudent management of national resources as well as investing in skills development.
Other areas where Africa must invest include development of the infrastructure, particularly in energy, transportation, information and communication technology (ICT) as well as ensuring food security.