[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
What should be done to boost African growth?
Man selling chickens in Malawi
Africa's traders have many obstacles to overcome
The 14th Africa Economic Summit, an annual meeting organised by the World Economic Forum, is being held this week in the Mozambican capital, Maputo.

African leaders and business men and women will be discussing how Africa's development plan, the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) is progressing.

Nepad commits African nations to improving financial accountability and governance in an effort to boost investment from rich countries.

The meeting comes amid doubts over whether the plan is working.

Some of the key topics on the summit's agenda are:

  • showcasing African success stories;
  • looking at the scope and scale of South-South collaboration;
  • developing infrastructure and the African capital markets;
  • enhancing regional integration by removing trade barriers;
  • creating larger markets;
  • and the global fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

According to Haiko Alfeld, the director for Africa at the World Economic Forum: "The Africa Economic Summit is an opportunity for the continent's leaders, both from business and politics, to move beyond listing African challenges to developing scalable action plans that unleash Africa's full potential."

Can such meetings ever be more than just a talking shop?

Or can the summit really come up with workable solutions to Africa's stagnant economies?

What one thing do you think African leaders should do to encourage economic growth?

Use the form to send your comments.

A selection will be broadcast on the BBC World Service Focus on Africa programme on 5 June at 1705 GMT.

Simple Good governace
Okere Donatus, Owerri Imo State Nigeria

The Photograph in this article sums up the fundamental problem faced by African countries in their attempts to boost trade - the lack of adequate transport systems and infrastructure. High transport costs, poor access to market and exposure to falling commodity prices are major factors in the continuing high rates of rural poverty. Most of Africa depend on the rural population for agriculture which in turn contributes to a significant percentage of economic output. Improved transport policies and projects at regional and national levels are likely to facilitate and promote trade between African countries as well as secure access to global markets
Victor Mengot, Surrey UK

African leaders know what they are supposed to do in order to develop this continent, but they have chosen not to,rather they are perpetrating bad governance, corruption,human rights abuse, dictatorship,tribalism, insecurity, civil strifes.These are not issues to be solved through summits.Africa does not need talk show summits, what it needed is a responsible leadership that is accountable to the people.
hesbon okwayo , Nairobi, Kenya.

Africa should focus on asking the western world to forgive them from debt crisis. This will cause Africa to grow, due to the fact that they are spending billions and billions of dollars on paying off debt. Overall, Africa's debt is causing proverty which leads to AIDS.
Ida, Liberia

I think Africa's problems date back to the days of Slavery and colonialism, Years of free labour and then followed by looting by the west in the days of colonization really led to a lag, if asked what should be done to boost African growth, I think compensation for slavery and colonization should be the top of the list, followed by removal of trade barriers and stringetn conditions by lending bodies like IMF and WOrld bank, then enable debt relief,
Gloria otieno, Gent, Belgium (Kenyan)

To Gloria Otieno: I agree slavery and colonialism has done it's share of damage to Africa, but compensation ? No ! What of all the technology scientific developments brought about by colonialism ? Where would Africa be without these ? Africa, as Hesbon Okwayo says, needs good governance. The natural resources are there and the people are hard-working. Zimbabwe is an example of a complete failure brought about only by poor governance.
Mike, UK, London

Its all well and good to talk of NEPAD/improving accountability and gorvernance and all that but that is just talk. UNTIL there is fair trade between nations, there will be no progress. The US and the EU have to stop subsidizing farmers in their countries, let the market determine what products are worth, and lets pay fair prices for same, remove all tarrifs -why does cocoa paste invite tarrifs but not the beans, why does starbucks and other like companies make more money from coffee than the guy who waited at least four years for his coffee plant to bear fruit. How is that farmer expected to survive. The answer is not necessarily investment from rich countries, but levelling the playing field, fair is fair. African countries don't want hand outs, that is getting old. African countries would survive and progress if they had a fair shake.
Ken, Los Angeles, USA

The only thing Africa needs is for the west to freeze and put sanctions on looted funds and the money will stay where it is supposed to and development will follow.

For African growth, we first need stability & peace. we can then build on, from there.It's a disgrace with UN troops in DR Congo and rebels being allowed to break the ceasefire,loot and rape. No wonder the US ignored UN and went to war in IRAQ.(I don't support the war incidentally) African countries need to have an effective rapid reaction force to deal with the rebels who all over Africa are nothing but enemies of progress.
Kofi, Ghanian in London

Freedom, democracy, and capitalism are the best ways to combat poverty in Africa, or anywhere in the world. Ridding themselves of their two-bit dictators like Mugabe would be a great place to start.
Steve, USA

Human security and fundmental education are needed in Africa. we need to think not only now but also future. education help people can access to economic information easily. even if there are clear accountability, it will be meaningless if people can't read.
Keiko, Japan

African leaders should understand that the solutions to our problems will only come from within. Due to this we should undertake reforms in all sectors of our economies so as to ensure that solutions are localised
Timothy Kandie, Nairobi

With so much of Africa's population relying solely on subsitence agriculture there is little incentive for foreign investment and small scope for trade. In my opinion increasing sustainable outputs should be paramount. I think there is definitely a chance that the economic forum can at least act as a sounding board for the variety of cultures and societies.
Matt, Edinburgh

African nations must develop an enabling social, political and economic environment for its economies to really take off. By this I mean, infrastructures like water,electricity, roads, rail and security of life and property. The rulers should forget about their penchant for white elephant projects. If the people are empowered African economy will surely grow.
Osagie Ayanru, Charleston, WV., USA

The best way to boost African growth would be for complete dismantling of agricultural subsidies in the US and the EU. This would enable African countries to make more money from their agricultural sectors which could then be used to invest in infrastructure and education to improve their economies.
Amit, London,UK

Good Governance, Justice, Freedom of speech & enterprise, less corruption and more investment in Health and Education. I other words care for people, treat people like human beings.
Sardinha, Luanda, Angola

I like the idea of free trade. Certainly, removing trade barriers among african states will boost trade exchange.
Fatih Ahmed, Khartoum, Sudan

african countries should band together to negotiate for a more equitable deal from the WTO. A good place to start would be removing the Northern barriers to trade which would increase the amount african countries could export
peter sadler, london, england

Good governance that is accountable to the people, along with; Better road infrastructure, constant electricity, safe drinking water, better communication systems. Some of these things can be set up as regional networks as oppose to an individual country doing it alone . . . say a west African Beltway, rail network, water and air transportation to move people and goods around faster. Until African leaders are ready to think, talk, and act global, the cycle will continue.
Carlton Boah, USA

You know what we need most in Africa? It's not foreign aid...it's not IMF/World Bank loan...it's not even the removal of trade barrier. Africa needs, as a matter of urgency, education and mental development. It's disheartening to see African leaders use the scarce resource of their countries to attend useless summits every other day.
Tony Izuogu, Ghana (Nigerian)

Your E-mail address
Town & Country

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Africa weighs up development plan
02 Jun 04 |  Business
World 'failing poverty pledges'
23 Apr 04 |  Business
World 'going too slow on poverty'
15 Jan 04 |  Science/Nature
Can globalisation be tamed?
24 Feb 04 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific