AfDB in Rwanda: You can't eat GDP

by Developed Africa 29. May 2014 09:00

Last week the AfDB Annual Meetings were held in Rwanda.

The annual meetings were host to many discussions about the "Africa we Want" and there has been a lot of focus on what the AfDB has achieved in the last 50 years, and what more it needs to do.

The meetings opened with a discussion on the importance of encouraging a GDP growth that has real meaning, one that will make a real difference.

what was needed was growth with depth, meaning diversifying production, making exports competitive on the international market, increasing the overall productivity of farms, firms and governments and upgrading the technology that is used throughout the economy, which will result in overall improved human well-being in Africa."

This can perhaps be surmised by AfDB President Donald Kaberuka's statement to the audience that: "You can't eat GDP". This statement is a short one, but one that is laden with meaning; headlines about GDP growth are banded around so easily that it can often appear that they don't really make a lot of difference to people's daily lives, that needs to change, and a GDP growth that has real meaning needs to become the focus.

"The Africa We Want" was a key theme that ran through the course of last week's conference, as you can see from the discussion on Leadership for the Africa we Want, which you can watch here, in which President Kagame highlighted the glaring fact that leaders often say a lot, but do not actually act. And more often than not, they act in the opposite manner to what they say:

We have to make sure that leaders are there for a purpose. They must deliver, work for transformation and better the lives of the people."

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