Poor governance remains one of Africa’s biggest challenges. In this regard, accelerating the continent’s progress from the current state requires a rethink of development and governance issues.
As part of the Institute of Economic Affairs’ (IEA) mission to promote good governance in Ghana and Africa at large, the institute held a roundtable discussion on the theme “Governance and Development in Africa”.
The roundtable discussion was graced by the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Tony Blair.
Addressing a gathering at the Amb. Birgit Storgaard Dialogue Centre of the IEA in Accra, Mr. Tony Blair complimented Ghana for the peaceful transfer of power in the 2016 elections.
“With its recent election and peaceful transition of power, Ghana has once again shown itself to be at the forefront of democracy across Africa. Last year’s election, and the 60th anniversary of independence this year, are further milestones in the development of a great nation. I also know from personal experience the challenges of coming in as a leader after years in Opposition (though Labour had been out for longer than the 8 years since the NPP were last in Office). Expectations are high, sometimes unrealistically so, and it takes time to get to grips with the system. Leaders all over the world grapple with this gap between the expectations of the people and the capacity to deliver.
But to me, the quality of a country’s governance is the differentiating factor; between those countries able to seize the opportunities of the modern world and globalization and those who are not. Look around the world at these examples [your comparisons of Rwanda/Burundi; Columbia/Venezuela; Poland/Ukraine; South/North Korea]. That is why, 8 years ago when we started the work of the Africa Governance Initiative working with President Kagame in Rwanda, we focused on effective governance as the critical challenge: supporting leaders to build the capacity around them to deliver on their priorities, not those of the outside world, founded on a spirit of partnership and collaboration, not aid,” he said.
According to him, effective governance is a key challenge to most leaders in Africa and so called on African leaders to build capacity of officials around them in order to deliver on their priorities.
He pledged his commitment to Africa’s development stating that the future of Africa belongs in the hands of African leaders and the people; hence the need to look beyond aid to an era of partnership.
“In July, Chancellor Merkel will host the G20 and is looking to develop a new partnership for Africa. The world has moved on considerably – and Africa within it – since I hosted the G8 in Gleneagles in 2005, building on the work of the Commission for Africa, at which we reached historic agreements on debt cancellation. Now the focus, rightly, is on trade, agriculture, infrastructure, and job creation, whilst of course recognizing the ongoing scourge of conflict and radical extremism that hinders development.”
Mr. Blair also commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his commitment to addressing the country’s challenges.
He was hopeful that the nation will succeed in achieving its economic breakthrough.
“It is clear to me that for Africa to succeed in this journey, then Ghana must succeed too. The country is at a unique moment. I’ve been here this week to discuss the work of my Institute with President Akufo-Addo. I sense a country and a President filled with optimism and determination who is also clear-sighted about the challenges ahead,” he said.
Mr. Blair also thanked the IEA for its valuable role in promoting democratic values and political stability in Ghana.
Board Chairman of the IEA, Dr. Charles Mensa also commended the former British Prime Minister for the establishment of the Blair Institute for Global Change – an institute that is focused on strengthening effective governance.
Present at the event were Diplomatic Corps, Civil Society, Traditional Leaders, Government Officials, Parliamentarians among other dignitaries.
Source: Ameyaw Adu Gyamfi