The AU and its leaders
Africa’s prosperity: National governance and foreign relations
This panel, led by Her Excellency Vice President Jewel Taylor, will examine the roles of national governance and policy perspectives in driving development within the wider scope of international players, diplomacy, and global funding. The 'Push' approach to development has been practiced in Africa, constituting a top-down strategy that emphasizes external investments, technology transfer, and centralized planning to spur economic growth in developing countries. It assumes that developing countries lack the necessary resources, expertise, and institutions to achieve economic development and therefore require external help.
African governments have heavily relied on foreign aid for projects like the construction of large-scale infrastructure such as dams, highways, and industrial complexes, which were often disconnected from local needs and priorities. In 2021, Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to Africa reached $82 billion. The World Bank Group (WBG) approved $12 billion in financing for Sub-Saharan African countries to support their COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Since its inception in 1944, the World Bank Group has invested over $150 billion in the form of loans and grants in Africa. Similarly, the IMF has invested over $66 billion.
FDI to Africa from 2017 to 2021
While these funds have driven some economic growth in Africa, they had their drawbacks. It often resulted in the accumulation of external debt, which burdened African economies for decades. The large-scale projects it financed often failed to deliver on their promises due to mismanagement, corruption, and lack of local ownership and context.
Sitting with national leaders and international diplomats, this panel seeks to understand the strategy behind the current governance practices in Africa. It aims to understand what inspires national budgets and developmental plans, how international financing is negotiated and how the capital is deployed. The panel will explore the areas where capital is deployed and its impact on the economy, particularly the innovative space, and the drawbacks associated with supporting the innovative sector. Additionally, international diplomats will provide insights into foreign aid towards Africa and how it has evolved over time to suit Africa's best interest. Overall, the panel aims to draw novel insights that can influence national governance and international relations towards Africa. The expected outcome is improved innovative conditions in Africa for economic advancement while decreasing Africa's debt burden.