Continental leaders optimistic about Africa’s development

Image: Flickr - Adesha

By: Thandisizwe Mgudlwa – AfricaBrains

BUSINESS leaders, companies, academics, government officials including other professionals gathered in Cape Town this week to share ideas on how to bolster Africa’s development.

This happened at the 6th Africa Economic Forum where the continent’s best thinkers provided insight to what needed to be done urgently in creating a prosperous life for the continents poorer masses. Commenting on Africa’s prospects, South African Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said : “In Southern Africa, gas reserves have grown rapidly in recent years to about 4,765 billion cubic feet (bcf), while recoverable reserves are estimated at 870 bcf according to BP Statistics. Angola currently tops the gas reserves distribution by country in the region, with about 271.8 billion cubic meters (m3) concentrated in Cabinda and environs, followed by Mozambique (127.4 billion m3) – the Pande and Temane fields, then Namibia (62.3 billion m3) – the Kudu fields, Tanzania (6.5 billion m3) and South Africa (27 million m3). She said new gas fields in Mozambique that were reported in 2011 are set to catapult Mozambique to the top. “They also augur well for regional trade and development, and provide a further strategic opportunity to lift the fortunes of the region and the continent.

“We should be asking ourselves and spare some thought on how these resources can be used to best serve sub-saharan Africa and the entire continent first. As South Africa, with a clear intent of creating a sustainable gas market in our country, we will continue to engage with our sister countries to find the best way of utilizing these resources, whilst making the necessary returns on investment. “We are of the view that SADC structures on energy should be integrated and mobilized. This is necessary because of the growing evidence that separate development planning in the end may cost end users more. It may be more effective to link the regions pipeline network for gas as well as petroleum products. These may be a more effective intervention than costly investment in road transport tankers and rail road cars”, she added Meanwhile, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies encouraged more collaboration between countries on the continent for growth to happen on a larger scale. “We have realised for a long time that the African continent is inextricably linked to our own destiny.” “The real challenge is to turn that growth into a real developmental process. I think that the continent will not be able to continue indefinitely to have a commodities boom-driven growth. It will have to turn that commodities-driven growth into a serious effort to create value-added products,” warned Dr Davies The forum consisted of plenary sessions with leading speakers who came from various key countries saw business and governments dealing with basic necessities for Africa’s economic future.

This event did not disappoint as it managed to focus on issues like the leading edge shifts in Africa’s evolving economic landscapes, critical investment and business concerns, Delegates expressed their satisfaction that Africa emerging role and strategic position within a highly-competitive and rapidly globalizing world received special focus.

Next year’s forum is to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa.