“We certainly have a shared sense of history with much of Sub-Saharan Africa. We certainly also have a shared sense of problems and solutions to those problems,” said Professor Yunus Ballim, deputy vice-chancellor, when introducing Doctor Donald Kaberuka.

Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank Group, addressed over 50 people in the FNB building auditorium, West Campus on March 14. It was a brief presentation on a pertinent topic: Challenges and Opportunities facing Africa.

Problem solving: Doctor Donald Kaberuka discusses possible solutions for Africa’s challenges. Photo courtesy of Caution Hlongwane

In his address, Kaberuka outlined four key challenges faced by Sub-Saharan Africa. These were government defiance, managing natural resources, managing external shocks, as well as the implications for business confidence as a result of government defiance.

He found it to be unacceptable for so much wealth in the form of food and minerals to be exported, while over half the population lived below the poverty line in many countries. He stressed that this was happening because economic resources were not being managed well, which results in a lack of business confidence.

As a solution, Kaberuka suggested a free movement of natural resources within the African continent as well as government investing in projects that will contribute to building greater infrastructure.

Kaberuka expressed his wish for government in African states to provide more support to farmers, adding that it would work best on a temporary basis.

He pointed out that it was important to find solutions to Africa’s challenges, as opposed to finding people to put the blame on, and that as African countries we should work and develop together and stop “wasting opportunities”.

Kaberuka is a Rwandan economist and has served as president of the African Development Bank since 1995. He was also Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning from 1997 to 2005 and is credited with helping restructure and stabilize the country’s economy after the civil war in 1994.

The African Development Bank Group’s mission is to promote sustainable economic development and social progress in the continent and help reduce poverty. To this end, the Bank seeks to mobilize resources to assist African countries, individually and jointly.