27 May 2014

Africa: Mo Ibrahim - 'The Numbers Say Africa Is Rising'

Photo: African Development Bank Group
Maximizing Africa’s Blue Economies, AM2014, Kigali.

interview

The Rwandan capital Kigali hosted this year's annual meetings of the African Development Bank, set up in 1964 with the goal of strengthening African solidarity by means of economic cooperation between African states.

Among the international economists and experts attending the 49th meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Kigali was Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim. In 2006 he established the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to encourage better governance in Africa. A year later he initiated the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

Mr Ibrahim, how do you evaluate the performance of host country Rwanda towards fulfilling the goal of the AfDB?

Rwanda really did take very strong steps towards development. I mean this place is unrecognizable. There's a very good management of economy and resources - it's a success story and that's great.

You've been here, attending different meetings and talking about Africa, Africa rising and African entrepreneurs. Do you believe this idea of Africa rising in terms of entrepreneurship could really be achievable?

This is not an idea. It is a reading of the data. African revenue is going up, the number of educated people in Africa is going up, Africa's transparency and governance is improving. We are in the business of data, not the business of slogans. We publish our index every year in which we measure 133 parameters for every African country, It shows that Africa is moving forward. This is data which comes from 25 international organizations. The world is working with us and this is a most credible set of data. I'm not in the business of applauding Africa, we're in the business of telling the truth about Africa and the numbers say Africa is rising.

In the past 20 years Rwanda has made this development that you are talking about. Do you think it can serve as a best lesson for other African countries?

Sure, it's a good example of how things should be done. [There is] clean government and transparency, lack of corruption, educating people and moving forward. It is definitely a success story and we hope that this continues. We are going to keep watching you guys!

Mo Ibrahim is a Sudanese-British entrepreneur and philanthropist and the initiator of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

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