Africa still faces many challenges- ACBF boss

Rwanda, just like other African countries, still faces a challenge of addressing skills and capacity gaps. The observation was made by the Executive Secretary of African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Dr Frannie A Leautier ahead of the Kigali Summit to mark 20th anniversary of the foundation.

Rwanda, just like other African countries, still faces a challenge of addressing skills and capacity gaps.

The observation was made by the Executive Secretary of African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Dr Frannie A Leautier ahead of the Kigali Summit to mark 20th anniversary of the foundation.

In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Dr. Leautier said that African countries still face stiff challenges in building a strong capacity and meeting development challenges such as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Executive Secretary of ACBF noted that the way forward for Africa, is to first meet emerging challenges for the continent.

She noted that the current wave of revolts in African countries are a result of people getting frustrated by poor policy implementation by governments as well as lack of food and high consumer prices.

“There is the question of food security and food prices, all these riots that you see in Africa, they actually started in Mozambique, Cameroon, Tunisia and then Egypt. It is becoming a continent-wide issue and there is no reason Africa should not be able to feed itself,”
60% of the crop-able land of the world lies in Africa, according to Dr. Leautier.

She noted that Agriculture needs to be transformed to increase productivity. This, she said, would require developing markets to complement each other. Those that have surplus should supply others.

Dr. Leautier pointed out that the ABCF has registered tremendous successes since its establishment in the 1991, supporting capacity and skills development, policy research and formulation in 34 of its member states.

The foundation, which is mainly funded by the World Bank, supports hundreds of think tanks, policy institutes and as well as Universities across the continent.

Dr. Leautier noted that for the last 11 years that ACBF has been supporting Rwanda, the country has proved to be one of the most aid effective and efficient members.

“We are in Rwanda for a special reason. We consider Rwanda a country that has used ACBF very effectively because when Rwanda came out of conflict, ACBF was the first to come on the ground to support capacity building,” Dr. Lautier said. 

ACBF, has funded several programmes in Rwanda to the tune of US$9m.

“The funds that Rwanda got, which were not a lot at the beginning, were so effectively used, starting with the work Dr. Kaberuka (Donald) did in training people in finance and banking when he was still Finance Minister,” she added.
She added that Rwanda, under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, provides great lessons to other countries.

Among the confirmed speakers and panellists at the summit are Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa; Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank; Dr Abdoulaye Janneh, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Community for Africa; Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank and Dr. Ibrahim A Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD.

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