UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, addressed the ECA Eighth African Development Forum on Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa's Development in Addis Ababa yesterday.
Speaking at the roundtable on "mineral resources for Africa's development: anchoring a new vision", the Secretary-General of UNCTAD emphasized that Africa should have a vision that dispels the misconceived notion that links Africa with the resource curse.
He argued that resources are a blessing rather than a curse for Africa. He said it was possible for Africa to use its resources efficiently and with minimal negative environmental impacts. He also indicated that UNCTAD's recent Africa report on structural transformation and sustainable development provided several policy recommendations in this regard.
The Secretary-General cited this year's Global competitiveness index where Switzerland and Singapore top the list. In this connection, he argued that this demonstrates that countries do not have to be resource rich to be competitive, but rather good policies were crucial.
He suggested that these policies be "consciously driven by African governments". In this context, he highlighted the importance of regional integration and intra-African trade.
Other speakers included the Rt. Hon Clare Short, Hon Minister Sinkinesh Eigu, Minister of mines, Ethiopia and Prof. Raphael Kaplinsky, Open University.
The panel was moderated by HE Mohammed Fofana, Minister of Mines, Republic of Guinea.