Former President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) for diversifying its base to now cater for the private sector in Africa and enhance their capacities.
He said by opening up to the private sector, the Bank, which dealt almost exclusively with governments and the public sector in the past, was laying the foundation for building a strong and competitive entrepreneurial class worthy of competing evenly on the international stage.
Former President Kufuor was speaking on: â€śChallenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship capacity development in Africaâ€ť at the Eminent Speaker’s Forum of the AfDB at its headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia.
The function was chaired by Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of AfDB and attended by bankâ€™s top hierarchy, financial experts, the banking community and diplomats.
Former President Kufuor said although Africa abounds with entrepreneurial talents, they lack the technical know-how and informative knowledge of the market to enable them take advantage of the benefits of globalization.
â€śThe indigenous entrepreneur by himself is so seriously handicapped by history and lack of practice. But his failure, is automatically is also the failure of his nation which becomes the dumping ground for imports which could otherwise have been produced competitively locally and which would have enhanced job-creation and employment.
â€śTherefore, it behooves the public sectors of the economy to join forces to strengthen and deepen entrepreneurial capacity as the main agency for a nation venturing into the international market successfully.â€ť
He said for Africa to get and secure its fair share of the market, it may be necessary to enter into partnerships that ensure know-how, capital and market for competitive advantage.
â€śThe critical mechanism to enlist such partnership is efficient and effective negotiating skills, which governments within their regulatory authorities should assist their private sectors with as they enter into partnerships with their foreign counterparts.
â€śThe opportunities that would issue from the institutionalization and practice of the concept of Public-Private Partnerships as the cornerstone of Africa’s development will be legendary.
â€śThe continent abounds in practically all the raw materials requisite for sustained industrial, agrarian and economic transformation for its people’s.
â€śIt has the potential to become the single biggest market in the world in the foreseeable.Â This is why it is being courted from the East and West, Former President Kufuor said, adding, â€śNow more than ever, it requires leadership of insight both in its political as well as its financial and intellectual institutions to guide it mainstream itself into globalization.”
Former President Kufuor earlier on Thursday had separate meetings with Dr Ben Jafaar, President of the Constituent Assembly which is drawing up a new constitution for Tunisia, and Mr Beji Caid Essebsi, who became Prime Minister in the wake of the Tunisian crisis that precipitated the Arab Spring and helped to bring the country back to normalcy.
Former President Kufuor will arrive in Shanghai, China on Sunday for the second China-Africa Forum, a statement from Frank Agyekum, Spokesperson/ special aide has said.