Africa must own its development agenda – Alweendo

Windhoek-Minister for Economic Planning and Director General of the National Planning Commission, Tom Alweendo, has stressed the need for effective partnerships and cooperation that are beneficial for African economies. Speaking during the second German-African Business Summit, which took place from February 08 to 10 in Nairobi, Kenya, Alweendo noted that "for far too long Africa has been seen through the eyes of those who do not always have Africa's interest at heart."

The German-African Business Summit brought together ministers and business representatives from Kenya, Namibia, Germany, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria, and focused on Africa's economic growth potential and the future trends in African-German cooperation. Over 500 participants from business and politics explored opportunities and discussed challenges of doing business in Africa.

Speaking during a plenary session titled "Setting the Scene: Economic Growth in Africa", Alweendo noted that "Africans have to fully embrace the need to define the African development narrative", further adding that Africans have started to define the Africa we want and owning the development agenda through homegrown development programs such as Agenda 2063 and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Alweendo also detailed Namibia's development focus including Namibia's long-term strategy of becoming a logistics hub for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and the continent at large. Alweendo also highlighted investment opportunities in much-needed infrastructural developments projects, both soft and hard, in energy, water, transport, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and skills.

He also stressed that despite the challenging economic headwinds being experienced by most African economies, "these challenges provide us with the opportunity to deepen our macro- and microeconomic reforms. We will need to continue to implement carefully considered but strong policy interventions that support inclusive and sustainable growth."

Noting Namibia's sustained average economic growth of over 5 percent over the past 5 years, Alweendo added that the country will continue to play its part in fostering the continent's economic transformation. In closing, Alweendo emphasised the need to revitalise "global partnerships for development that brings together governments, civil society, the private sector and other actors to mobilise all available resources."

On the sidelines of the summit, Alweendo held discussions relating to Namibia-German relations with Charles Huber, MP; member of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Cooperation in Germany's Bundestag. He also met with the Chairman and CEO of the German-African Business Association and discussed investment opportunities in Namibia.

Informal discussions were also held with GFA Consulting to discuss new innovations in e-learning and digital development initiatives. With GreenTac Capital, an investment company that aims to develop and assist impactful African startups, Alweendo's discussions centered on ways of encouraging entrepreneurs, as well as supporting and nurturing startup ecosystems in Africa and Namibia in particular.

The summit was hosted by the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) and sponsored by a network of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Federation of German Industries.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia