KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
PROFESSOR of Economics Jeffrey Sachs says Africa will only attain double digit growth and sustainable development if countries prioritise infrastructure development.
Speaking on the side-lines of the Third Financing for Development Conference organized by the New Partnership for Africaâ€™s Development (NEPAD) Agency and Sustainable Development Solutions Network, under the theme â€˜Unlocking Public and Private Capital for African Infrastructureâ€™, Prof Sachs said closing Africaâ€™s infrastructure gap is top priority in order to put the continent on a path for double digit growth, and sustainable development.
â€œThere is no choice, Africa needs 10 percent per year of economic growth in the next 15 years, and the only way to achieve this is to focus on large-scale investments in trans-national infrastructure projects in power, roads, broadband, and other core regional infrastructure needs,â€ said Prof Sachs, who is Director of the SDSN, and Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals.
According to a statement issued by NEPAD communications officer Abiola Ajayi, Nobel laureate in economics and University of Columbia Professor Joseph Stiglitz also said financial markets have failed to translate pools of savings into productive investment.
â€œThere is need to better match these large-scale resources with financing priorities of developing countries, and the world has the resources with which to do this. Allocating more of these resources to inclusive development will be good for the global economy,â€ he said.
He said the best way for Africa to achieve its infrastructure goals is to tap into a Global Infrastructure Investment Platform.
â€œThe objective of GIIP is to put forward an ambitious proposal that will allow long-term investors to ramp up their infrastructure asset holdings, with an allocation target of up to 10 per cent of assets under management over a 15 year horizon,â€ he said.
And NEPAD Agency Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim Mayaki said Africaâ€™s challenge is not lack of resources, but lack of bankable projects.
â€œWe need to invest in the capacity to invest, it is about proposing structured projects, he said.
KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka