By Cristina Duarte, Candidate for President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)
As we celebrate Africa Day, it gives me great pleasure to congratulates our continent for the remarkable vision it has had by embarking, decades ago, in a project aimed at achieving its unity. This year’s Africa Day coincides with the return to its headquarters of the prime institution of African Development -The African Development Bank (AfDB). It is therefore timely to once more pay tribute to the founding fathers who on May 25th, 1963 established the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which was replaced, in 2002, by the current African Union.
No other institution is better suited than the AfDB to give Africa the needed boost to reach the promised land. As a candidate to lead this important organization, I am therefore pleased to call on all the stakeholders, including outside partners of the bank, to play a more coordinated and effective role in ensuring that Africa Day becomes a landmark moment not just of celebration but for sober reflections on needed practical ideas, actions and proposals aimed at fostering Africa’s Development.
In order to show my commitment to what can be our continent’s ‘Bourse d’Idees’, ‘Stock-Exchange for Ideas”, I am delighted to put on the table three ideas for consideration.
1- I call for the institution of a Prize For Women, to be named after an African Woman who made a decisive contribution to the continent’s march. Such a Prize may, after consultation with relevant people, be named for instance after a respected African woman, including those who passed away, as long as they have a legacy worthy to be celebrated.
2- I call for the building of ecosystems within the continent that promotes innovation that could include various aspects such as innovation awards, fund for research, industrial attachments, links between academics, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators…the ultimate objective for Africa is to domesticate and democratize technology as a result of a sustained effort to develop and upgrade our capacity throughout the continent focusing on Africa’s indigenous capacity for Science, Technology and innovation to address our present and future problems.
3- I call on African institutions, working with African States, and their outside partners, to ensure that the continent’s natural resources and manufactured goods carry more local value-added while reducing the imbalances in the value-chain detrimental so far to Africa.
I wish Africa a great present and future while vowing to being committed to making Africa’s structural transformation a reality if, as I hope, I am trusted to lead our pan-African bank.
*Cristina Duarte is Minister of Finances and Economic Planning, and Candidate for President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). More information: http://www.cristinaduarte2015.