Africa needs a paradigm shift in its development plans if it is to catch up with the rest of the world, the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Southern African region said on Tuesday.
In remarks delivered at a meeting of experts from the southern African region in Livingstone city, south of Zambia, Said Adejumobi noted that there is no quick fix to development anywhere in the world but that development is a product of concerted efforts and ingenuity.
“Africa will have to think differently not only to develop, but also in running to catch up with the rest of the world, the efficient exploitation and efficient management of natural resources will be key to Africa’s development and the realization of Vision 2063,” he said in a statement.
The official said the two-day meeting whose theme is “Making Natural Resources Work for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development” has come at the backdrop of renewed confidence about the fate and future of the African continent.
With a stable Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate for over a decade, Africa is back in the global storyline as possibly the pole of the global economic growth, he added.
“The question is how does Africa maintain the momentum of its growth and achieve the structural transformation of its economies? Africa’s natural resources are central to unlocking the continent’ s sustained economic growth and development,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Zambian government has said Africa’s economic transformation was dependent upon the exploitation of its natural resources.
Felix Nkulukusa, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance said despite having abundant natural resources such as land, water, forestry and minerals, the continent has failed to address intractable poverty.
While acknowledging notable economic growth recorded in some countries on the continent, the Zambian government official expressed concern at the growing inequality.