Rethinking development in Africa

Ibrahim Mayaki, AUDA-NEPAD chief executive officer and SWAC honorary president, shared his vision about key issues that will drive the debate about Africa’s development at the conference “Rethinking development in Africa,” held on 27 September 2019 at the Columbia University in New York. “Development means liberating potential and energies from the bottom up,” he tweeted to his 28.5K followers. Following an explanation of major transitions (demographic, technological, natural systems, climate change, governance systems as well as human development transitions) that are currently taking place on the African continent, Mayaki focused on governance issues. “I am convinced of the fact that current African governments don’t have the power to change the societies. They believe that they have power. But in reality, they don’t have power to change anything,” Mayaki stated. Nearly 75% of the African population is under the age of 25. There is a natural disconnect and incapacity to respond adequately to the challenges the continent is facing. “The best way to include youths in Africa’s development framework, Agenda 2063, is to let them be a part of its design and implementation,” he concluded. With respect to global uncertainty, he talked about the limits of multilateral co‑operation systems. “Aid will disappear in the next 10 years. It is already disappearing and when it is not disappearing, it is transformed into military support, like in the Sahel region. Most of the ODA is linked to military objectives,” Mayaki stated. In his conclusion, Mayaki called for a paradigm shift to develop new forms of governance to “co-produce public policies,” while acknowledging the critical importance of having more youth participation. He also suggested that African governments replace aid with trade, develop regional solutions for national challenges, and strengthen regional and internal markets. “Rethinking development also means reflecting on what justice means,” Mayaki concluded.