LAGOS, NIGERIA: June 13, 2012. The African Capacity Building Foundation joined Africa 2.0 in Lagos, Nigeria, for its Annual Leadership Symposium, designed to find and implement sustainable solutions to leapfrog Africa’ development. Speakers at the Symposium included HE Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria and Chairman of the Africa 2.0 Advisory Board; Mr Thierry Tanoh, Vice President, IFC (Africa, Latin America, Western Europe); Ms Hadeel Ibrahim, Strategy Executive Director at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mr Jean Louis Ekra, Chairman and President of AfrExim Bank; Ms Bineta Diop, Founder and Chair of the Board at Femmes Africa Solidarité, Mr Andrew Alli, President and Chief Executive Officer, African Finance Corporation and Mr Mamadou Kwidjim Touré, Founder of Africa 2.0.
More than 40 African nationalities are represented in Africa 2.0, a pan-African civil society organisation that gathers together young emerging leaders from Africa and the Diaspora, who share a collective vision for Africa. With diverse backgrounds ranging from the private sector, government and civil society, Africa 2.0 aims to effect thoughtful change in Africa by enabling a broad-based, inclusive and innovative social contract that involves various thinkers and actors who are committed to developing and implementing practical and creative strategies nationally and internationally that will produce positive outcomes across the continent. A coalition for sustained transformation, members of Africa 2.0 implement solutions together to accelerate development of the continent. By constructing a growth model that is adapted to African realities, the group aims to leverage the most innovative global practices and African success stories.
Establishing a knowledge-based society, where empowered citizens draft a new social contract that mobilises key actors leaders to achieve the vision of a new Africa, has been identified as a key prerequisite and catalyst in promoting the emergence of a prosperous and inspiring Africa. The mission of Africa 2.0 is to consistently, actively and passionately support the implementation of a new vision for Africa through knowledge dissemination and social engagement.
Speaking on the topic ‘ A coalition for sustained transformation’, ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr Frannie Léautier, who launched the Africa 2.0 Manifesto together with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Addis Ababa earlier this year, highlighted that the reference guide book of the young representatives provides a common base for joint continental efforts to build a better Africa for all. The Manifesto gathers insights on best practices, lessons learned, key development priorities and the role of civil society. It also emphasises making decision makers accountable, a pan - African co-ordination mechanism, knowledge and experience sharing and addressing execution challenges.
As a Special Guest, Dr Léautier delivered a presentation on ‘Leapfrogging Africa Towards a Knowledge Society’ as part of a session on developing and retaining human capital. In her address, Dr Léautier provided an overview of ACBF’s continental approach to uplifting Africans through capacity development, migration and capacity utilisation, while promoting inclusive growth, entrepreneurship and adopting cluster strategies in order to unleash Africa’s potential.
Referring to the three essential ingredients missing in Africa's toolkit, Dr Léautier said that Africa has all the resources it needs to propel economic growth, but three essential inputs are missing: a critical mass of inspirational leaders, skills to compete in a globalised sphere and an environment that is supportive of going to scale in terms of legal, finance and policy issues.
Dr Léautier said: “With a twenty-year history of capacity development experience in Africa, ACBF has developed a niche in supporting policy units and think tanks throughout the region, carrying out the analysis, design and assessment of the policies that are most appropriate for regional integration. We invest in skills and competence building in order to generate a critical mass of people through university partnerships and support regional training institutions in strengthening their own capacity. ACBF also works in partnership with the Regional Economic Communities, the African Union Commission and NEPAD to ensure that support goes to priority areas, including implementation capacity for large scale infrastructure investments in strategic corridors. In addition, we seek effective partnerships with a variety of entities such as the e-Institute of the World Bank Institute in order to bring the needed content for customisation and use at the country and sub-regional level, and partner and support entities involved in policies and implementation in the agricultural sector (productivity, food security, transformation potential) across key value chains that stretch multiple countries.”
She added: “Because of the important role of women we partner with GIMAC and especially its dynamic leader Ms Bineta Diop to ensure effective capacity is built for women to participate in the economy. By helping countries to develop strategies and programs to effectively manage the interface between capacity development and capacity utilisation, we are able to prioritise areas to speed up capacity development in order to meet national and regional capacity needs (country capacity strategies). Our targeted research, on specific value chains invests in needed data, and develops the partnerships necessary to improve performance. Partnerships, such as the one we share with Africa 2.0, are essential for sustainable capacity development.”
Dr Léautier concluded that Africa requires an investor-friendly and sound policy environment that supports domestic, regional and multinational firms, an enabling environment, supported and characterised by good governance, well-negotiated and executed infrastructure contracts. Promoting regional champions and accelerating and consolidating regional integration is also critical for policy predictability. This is why we support Africa 2.0 and their dynamic platform for transformation, she ended.
Conference Moderators included Mr William Wallis, Africa Editor of the Financial Times; Mr Vladimir Duthiers, CNN Lagos Correspondent and Ms Julie Gichuru, Television Anchor for Citizen TV.