African Heads of State, diplomats, development partners and other stakeholders will converge on Accra next month for the maiden Presidential Dialogue on Africa Beyond Aid.
The dialogue, convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Ghana government, is expected to bring together more than 200 participants, including the senior UNDP leadership in Africa, private sector actors and captains of industry.
Dubbed: “Africa’s money for Africa’s development: A future beyond aid”, the dialogue will discuss how Africa can develop using resources pooled from within, without over-relying on donor assistance, as the case has been for the past 60 to 70 years.
The choice of Ghana as host is because the government blazed the trail by developing a home-grown economy dubbed: Ghana Beyond Aid, to lift the people out of poverty, with little dependence on development aid.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s initiative has since received the blessing of many development partners and the international community, finding expression in the development policy agenda of the UNDP.
The Advisor at the Regional Bureau for Africa at the UNDP, New York, Mr Joseph U. Oji, announced this when he paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in her office in Accra last Friday.
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Mr Oji said there was rising demand across Africa for a new breed of transformational leaders, which he said began with a distinct change in mindset and a renewed commitment to do things differently.
He said with Africa’s endowed natural resources and human capital, it had the power to be self-sufficient if the resources were complemented with transformational leaders.
“The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, has taken up the mantle of leadership in that direction by proclaiming and promoting the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda,” he said.
The aim of the dialogue, Mr Oji explained, was to support the development agenda of African leaders to achieve a self-sustaining future, focusing on Africa Beyond Aid.
He said the meeting was also to provide intellectual and analytical insights into the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), raise visibility and also create momentum on Africa’s vision for future prosperity while fostering new partnerships and the creation of allies for Africa’s transformational agenda.
According to him, the Presidential Dialogue was also in line with the UNDP’s strategic programme of engaging with leadership on the continent and influencers to drive sustainable development across Africa.
For her part, Ms Botchwey said Ghana had already taken the initiative of becoming self-sufficient.
She said Africa could become self-sufficient and develop beyond aid if it was able to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Agenda 2063.
“If Africa is able to work on the global and regional goals and achieve them, I believe it can be self-sufficient and self-reliant because it is already endowed with natural resources and human capital,” she added.
With the coming into force of the AfCFTA agreement, she said, African countries now had the opportunity to trade among themselves as they pursued the Africa Beyond Aid agenda.
She expressed satisfaction over the decision to hold the dialogue in Ghana and pledged her ministry’s commitment to ensure a successful meeting.