Donald Kaberuka: African Countries Should Take Charge of Their Own Development

On October 10, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), for a conversation on African development finance for the 21st century. Kaberuka stated that “[African] conditions have changed dramatically,” noting “four megatrends” shaping all 54 countries of Africa today:

  1. Emergence of new economic opportunities for investment, technology and exports.
  2. Demographic dynamics—a young continent, with one billion people, increasingly urbanized, and growing disposable income driving domestic demand.
  3. The discovery of large amounts of natural wealth, including 122 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, 500 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, and 85 percent of the world’s platinum.
  4. Opportunities to leapfrog in some technologies, such as the mobile phone. 

In his remarks, Kaberuka said that “the AfDB … will be an investor” and that “this is an incredible opportunity for African countries to take charge of their own development” by investing in themselves, managing debt and investing wisely.

Kaberuka described Africa 50, a way for African countries can mobilize their own savings. Noting that the combined reserves of African central banks is half-a-trillion dollars—money invested outside Africa——Africa 50, he said, would be a credible African vehicle to invest in transformational projects.

An archive of the live webcast plus event audio are available.

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Colleen Lineweaver contributed to this post.