Ending poverty and economic backwardness and installing a regime of economic prosperity in a sustainable way, remain the go-to, for Africa, with specific references to Ghana, Nigeria and other economically challenged African nations.
A former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Mr. Henry Keyari were unanimous in their views that poverty and economic backwardness remain Africa’s biggest challenge even as some countries of the continent continued to celebrate decades of political but questionable economic independence.
Both spoke at the launch of the 2018 edition of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalism (IFEJ) Flamingo Awards for Business and Financial Journalism in Accra, Ghana during the week.
Ihedioha however remained positive in the midst of what is on ground: “It is true that the level of growth the world expected from us is still far from what is on ground today. But we are coming. Nigeria is coming. Ghana is coming. Africa is coming’’.
“Many of you are already aware of the need for Africa to do more in order to overcome poverty and economic backwardness which has continued to torment us as a people- inspite of the abundant natural resources-enough to make us rule and dominate the world”, said Ihedioha who spoke as the special guest at the event.
Ihedioha who is strongly believed to be gearing up to vie for a top elective position in Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, asked Nigeria, Ghana and the entire continent of Africa to take another look at its leadership recruitment strategy. “To also achieve this level of growth which we need to hit our target in Nigeria, Ghana and the continent, we need a new crop of economic and political leaders. We need to redefine leadership. The leadership space available now appears rather small for where we are going’’.
The country director of the World Bank, Mr. Henry Kerali, described the Bretton Wood’s institution’s mission as that of ending extreme poverty and promoting prosperity. Speaking as the guest speaker on the theme: “Towards better management of natural resources for inclusive growth and development”, the World Bank director warned that Ghana was depleting its natural resource wealth while missing opportunities for economic transformation.
To Kerali, natural resources are critical for Ghana’s economic growth, jobs and poverty alleviation. ‘’ Many industrialised and developed countries including Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, United States, South Africa and Botswana had depended on the exploration and extraction of minerals as the basis for their economic development’’, he added. ‘
The World Bank’s mission is to end extreme poverty and to promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way, this recognises the role of the media to support the efforts to improve management of natural resources for inclusive growth and development’
In conclusion, Ihedioha explained that ‘’as someone that represents a new face of Nigerian and African leadership, I am strongly of the view that we need to engage more as Africans, if we must overcome this economic challenges. If we must manage our natural resources better and arrive at that level of growth we so much desire, then we must invest more in building our capacity as a people. Such investment will roll over to the level of leadership in the political and economic space.”