Abidjan - Rwanda’s current political leadership has set the pace as a success story, an African country that has made tremendous progress in development on the continent over the last few years, a development expert has said.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times on Wednesday, Michael Keating , the Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel observed that in terms of political determination to improve conditions of ordinary people- Rwanda leadership stands out in Africa.
“Even though Rwanda has many disadvantages like over population and lack of abundant resources, it has done incredibly well. If you measure it in terms of the fight against HIV /AIDS, rural health...it has done some extraordinary things,” Keating said.
He said this after the launch of the 2010 Africa Progress Report by the African Progress Panel at the ongoing Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank.
The panel monitors and promotes mutual accountability and shared responsibility for progress in Africa focusing on economic and political governance; finance for sustainable development and MDG achievement.
Keating also underscored the country’s ability to effectively utilize limited resources available to foster economic growth.
According to the development analyst, Rwanda has done “extraordinary well” for a country of its size and location given the natural disadvantages it faces.
The challenges for the country, he observed, remains in addressing the country’s basic technical management capacity gaps and sustaining good leadership.
According to 2010 Africa progress report under the theme “Turning Africa’s Resources and Revenue into Results”; good governance and accountability will determine Africa’s future.
“The quality of governance is a key determinant in political and social stability, equitable economic growth, and poverty reduction,” the report reads in part.
In her remarks at the launch of the report, Graca Machel, a member of the panel, observed that while the continent has made tremendous progress in various fields such as increasing access to universal education, some challenges remain.
“Lack of resources and management technical capacity are major constraints…Africa’s best assets - its people - are systematically underutilized…but political leadership and commitment, equitable use of resources are decisive factors,” she said.
According to the report, Africa’s population is now one billion with more than 43 percent being under the age of 15, and 62 per cent under the age of 25.
“Demographic trends compound the policy challenges that African leaders face, in particular those relating to urbanization, youth unemployment, food security, and the provision of public services such as education and health,” the report recommends.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Africa Progress Panel brings together a group of leaders under the chairmanship of Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General.