For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Rt. Hon Tony Blair, founder of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), issued the following statement on the upcoming high level development forum in Busan, Korea.
"We are optimists about Africa. Today, Africa offers opportunities one could scarcely imagine a generation ago. The continent is on the move.
Economies are growing, creating jobs and improving livelihoods. Over the past decade, eight economies from Sub-Saharan Africa have more than doubled in size. Foreign direct investment increased fivefold from 2000 to 2010, domestic revenues have grown, and aid dependence fallen. Demand for African resources, if managed transparently and effectively, holds the potential to transform the economies of Africa.
Political progress is no less remarkable. As the Cold War and Apartheid both came to an end, the number of democracies in sub-Saharan Africa jumped from only three in 1989 to 23 in 2008.That movement continues: the Arab Spring is a victory for freedom on the continent and democracy is spreading and strengthening south of the Sahara as well. Today, elections are the norm, women and minorities are increasingly empowered, rights are becoming entrenched, and coups and political violence are rarer than they've ever been.
In large part this progress is due to a new generation of emerging African leaders-incredible men and women who are shaking the old narrative of a dormant Africa and replacing it with one of optimism, determination, and progress. And the youth of the continent are eager to lead their countries into the decades ahead, representing Africa's greatest opportunity of all.
Governments and markets that deliver: listening and responding to citizens
Ultimately, this progress will only be sustainable if we get both governance and growth right. All societies, no matter how wealthy, need governments that can deliver real improvements in the lives of their citizens and be held to account for the results. And they need effective, enlightened, markets that can create wealth and improve living standards for all.
Securing the leadership dividend: capacity and accountability
Getting there requires leadership, and two things are needed to make leadership effective: capacity and accountability. Capacity, so governments can implement development plans and tackle poverty. Openness and transparency, so leaders are held to account for the results.
Supporting African leadership: common challenges and mutual responsibilities
The opportunity is clear, but we need action on all sides. Supporting and nurturing country leadership requires commitment on all sides.
• A commitment to African leadership. Development ultimately depends on the effectiveness and legitimacy of a country's political leadership. For country leaders it means defining clear and selective priorities and leading their implementation. For those providing aid this means delivering on the Paris principles of country ownership of aid and backing the priorities of those receiving aid. • A commitment to support implementation capacity. Country leaders and those giving aid must focus on developing the capacity of governments to act in support of their priorities. • A commitment to openness and transparency. Maintaining and strengthening our commitment to democracy and openness is crucial to delivering development progress. This means accountability of leaders to their citizens, but also transparency in aid and in investment. • A commitment to enlightened markets. Economic progress and poverty eradication will come from growing Africa's economies. But this requires governments that are willing and able to make markets work in their citizen's interests, it requires fair access to markets on all sides, and it requires transparency from investors. • A commitment to a new partnership for development. The old model of donors and recipients does not work for the modern world. Triangular relations among the rich, emerging, and low income countries should become the norm. And common mechanisms are needed to tackle common problems-whether climate change, food security, national security, or financial stability."
For more information about USAID, please visit www.usaid.gov
For more information about the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), please visit www.africagovernance.org
Last updated: February 12, 2015