Pole of Global Growth
Economic Report on Africa 2012 seeks to unleash Africa´s potential
− Basically, the report is about the developmental state, which is the key, and also about leadership in Africa. A developmental state needs good leadership. It’s all there for African countries − great agrarian opportunities, a large young population. Just take what you have and develop it, says Fantu Cheru.
He believes that the Economic Report can be read as a major critique of the continent´s governments, since it´s saying the opportunities are there and all that´s needed now is the right leaders to come forward.
− Still, the report was greatly welcomed when we presented it. One reason is that we demystify development. There is no secret and anyone can do it. But exploring new frontiers takes leaders who are willing and bold.
Today, Africa is almost at the same place China was 25 years ago. At that time, for instance, China had only one motorway. There was also a major economic crisis from 1990 to 1995, but the country emerged even stronger.
− The Chinese leaders were flexible, unafraid and vigorous. They used the formula – “If it works, do it big and if it doesn´t, abandon it”, says Fantu Cheru.
One difference is that Africa depends on foreign aid, but Fantu Cheru argues that African countries can now seek help from and partnerships with powers other than the traditional aid partners in the West, for example, the BRIC countries.