Verdict on Africa’s progress: must do better

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General launches the 2011 Africa Progress Panel report during the World Economic Forum on Africa.

The Africa Progress Panel, chaired by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, has unveiled its latest report at this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa underway in South Africa this week.

With expected economic growth of 5.5% the continent looks to be in good shape but, as ever, poor leadership threatens Africa’s otherwise good prospects.

Speaking to the Forum in Cape Town Annan said Africa suffered from a “leadership deficit” and warned that the tendency for African leaders to cling to power for three decades and more was “extreme arrogance”.

Africa was not immune to the shockwaves of the recent global economic meltdown but its recovery has been swift and strong, but the 2011 APP report notes that the continent’s growth has been “low quality”, based on extraction and export of raw resources to foreign nations, offering little in the way of employment or trade between African countries.

It warns that this must change if Africa is to pull itself out of the poverty in which many of its citizens are mired.