African Leaders Meet In Rwanda To Discuss Capacity Building

A two-day summit of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, concluded on Wednesday with African leaders calling for stronger “efforts in building capacity that goes beyond achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of 2015,” the New Times reports.

“The capacity we are talking about is organizational, institutional and human, to be able to deliver our people’s development,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who co-chairs the U.N. MDG Advocacy group, said during the meeting. Capacity building goes “[b]eyond having economists, engineers, but having people with a certain mindset, a certain attitude, a certain culture so that these useful qualities take us beyond the individual,” Kagame added, pointing to Rwanda’s own gains in this area (Kagire, 2/10).

Ahead of the summit, which coincided with the ACBF’s 20th anniversary, the Foundation’s Executive Secretary Frannie Leautier described the connection between capacity development and wealth creation in Africa, according to CAJ News/BusinessDay.

“Whereas the seeds for the formation of the foundation were originally sown outside the continent, there is now a major paradigm shift, with Africans owning the agenda for capacity development, rather than having it externally driven,” Leautier said. “Africa is claiming its rightful position on the international stage,” she added, noting that she hoped the meeting would kick off discussions on Africa’s development agenda.

According to the news service, ACBF was expected to “use the summit to launch the Africa Capacity Indicators Report, which outlines progress in capacity development and identifies the key areas of challenge” (Adero, 2/8).

Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, also speaking at the summit, noted that since ACBF’s establishment in 1991, the group has grown from 12 African country members to 34, the New Times writes in a separate article.  

“This evolution is a sign of African countries’ recognition of capacity building as a key condition of their sustainable economic growth,” Makuza said. “It is also a vote of confidence in ACBF as an effective coordination mechanism for capacity development on the continent,” he said.

Rwandan Finance Minister James Rwangombwa “said that despite some challenges, ACBF capacity building initiatives in many African countries covered both the public and private sectors, enabling them to successfully come up with policies and implement them,” according to the news service (Kagire, 2/9).

The New Times reports that Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa, attended the meeting (2/10). The “President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Community for Africa Abdoulaye Janneh, World Bank MD Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and New Partnership for African Development planning and co-ordinating agency CE Ibrahim Mayaki” were also expected to participate in the meeting, according to CAJ News/BusinsessDay (2/8).

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