KIGALI - Top African leaders and heads of regional and international institutions have converged in Kigali to forge the way forward to deal with skills and capacity gaps as well as discuss leadership challenges faced by the continent.
The two-day high level summit, under the theme, The Future of Africa is now: The critical role of capacity development, was organized by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the Government of Rwanda.
The summit which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the ACBF, was opened by Prime Minister Bernard Makuza and kicked-off with delegates discussing where the continent stands in terms of capacity.
In his opening remarks Makuza said that the ACBF has evolved from a small body with few members - in 1991 - to become a leader in capacity building on the continent, observing that Africa highly values capacity building.
Makuza said that ACBFs growing membership, from 12 African countries at the time of its creation to 34 countries today is a sign that African countries prioritize capacity building.
This evolution is a sign of African countries recognition of capacity building as a key condition of their sustainable economic growth, the Premier said.
It is also a vote of confidence in ACBF as an effective coordination mechanism for capacity development on the continent.
He added that for the last 20 years, the foundation has benefited African countries, especially those that recognize that capacity building is at the heart of the development process, providing the support needed.
Makuza noted that the Government of Rwanda has placed capacity building as one of its leading priorities.
He pointed out that, after emerging from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda knew that capacity building was vital across all the pillars of its vision.
On one side, good governance and a capable state require well-trained researchers and policy makers, judiciary and public finance professionals as well as strong institutional structures, Makuza said.
On the other side, a private sector-led development needs economists, corporate lawyers and organisations such as the Rwanda Development Board to manage those processes, he said.
The Premier noted that in a bid to create strategic capacity building, Rwanda put in place institutions and systems required to deliver results of development.
Finance Minister, James Rwangombwa, whose ministry through which the ACBF support is channelled, said that the Foundation has become a coordination mechanism through which international organisations such as the World Bank and others channel support towards capacity building on the continent.
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.
The Prime Minister of Togo, Gilbert Houngbo, chaired a session that discussed leadership capacity and the challenges of leadership in Africa, during which participants reflected on the leadership crises the continent is faced with, particularly in the Arab world.