Imagine the words of Anver Versi in ‘Infrastructure-the foundation of prosperity’, thus; the development and growth of any modern economy is inextricably to the state of its infrastructure. “As a general rule”, the author writes, “the more developed and efficient a country’s infrastructure, the higher its national GDP…”-NewAfrican, December 2016.
Africa’s quest for infrastructure growth need not be overemphasized. Africa has had to embrace the rise of new development partners with different models of cooperation. This is especially so in rresponse to the continent’s available growth opportunities.
Like FOCAC-(Forum On China-Africa Cooperation) with the Chinese, TICAD- Tokyo International Conference on African Development forum is Japan’s framework of development cooperation with Africa, that was established in 1993, to affirm Japan’s proactive position on development assistance to African nations, writes Kazuyoshi Aoki, in ‘Japan & the TICAD Process’ At the TICAD II ‘African development towards the 21st century’, stated Kazuyoshi Aoki, that the Tokyo agenda for action was launched “with a view to improving development planning and good governance; and conflict prevention…”
During the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development held in (Kenya) in August 2016, first ever in Africa since it was formed, Japan committed herself to mobilize $30 billion for Africa’s infrastructure, health care and security, according to Africa Renewal December 2016-March 2017. And at the said meeting, three areas for Africa’s growth were reportedly considered; economic diversification and industrialization; ensuring a resilient health sector, and social stability.
$10billion from the announced $30billion, writes Africa Renewal December 2016-March 2017, is to be “injected into a three-year Africa Infrastructure Plan targeting projects in education, energy, urban transport (roads and ports), health, agriculture and others…” In response, South Africa’s Zuma called for Japanese investments “to be structured in a way that all African countries are able to benefit, particularly when it comes to bigger projects.”
The African Union has come up Agenda 2063– a program reflecting the continent’s solutions to her challenges. In brief it outlines the type of Africa the world should see in the next fifty years, particularly in utilizing the continent’s resources for the benefit of its people. However, Agenda 2063 will not happen spontaneously, but one that “will require conscious and deliberate efforts to nurture a transformative leadership that will drive the agenda and defend Africa’s interests.”
Africa has huge untapped resources, providing great potential for her to push towards fast and sustainable growth path and in achieving Agenda 2063. For instance, countries in the MRU sub regional body are notable of possessing enormous wealth of untouched resources and reserves of mineral resources such as bauxite; iron ore, gold and diamond, phosphates and other mineral deposits.
Peter Drysdale and Luke Hurst, ANU submitted in a work, titled ‘Regional prospects in Africa's mining sector’ that the huge lift in terms of trade of resource exporters in the past decade “has opened new opportunities for Africa, as it has for Australia at a very different stage of development. Neither continent could hope to take advantage of these opportunities without the help of foreign investment.”
Self-reliance, by way of the continent financing its own development is crucial for our growth trajectory but not in the short term. Given the continent’s resource rich potentials, it should continue to shape her needs along those commitments made by nations like Japan (ICAD) and even China-within the FOCAC framework, amongst other development partners.
As agreed at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development, economic diversification and industrialization; ensuring a resilient health sector and social stability are vital if the continent must come to terms with the Agenda 2063.
The Johannesburg (South Africa) 2015 FOCAC Summit ended with an impressive financial assistance package of $ 60 billion, announced by President Xi. Of the said amount, $35 billion would be in preferential loans and export credit lines, $5 billion in grants, $15 billion for Capital for the China-Africa Development Fund and $5 billion for loans to develop African Small and Medium enterprises. (Source: FOCAC 2015: Consolidating China-Africa Relations – Analysis)
The continent should work assiduously in utilizing the ten mutual projects in various sectors, announced in South Africa in 2015, such as industrialization, agricultural innovation, infrastructure, financial services, green development, and trade and investment facilitation.
The forces driving the continent’s economic growth should be diversified, eventually giving us the Africa we need in 2063!