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Published On: Wed, May 7th, 2014

World Economic Forum: African leaders urged to tackle corruption, poverty

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World Economic ForumBy Clem Khena-Ogbena

Stakeholders at the on going World Economic Forum, which began full blast yesterday, have called upon African leaders to come up with policies aimed at tackling what they described as the ‘rising inequality in the continent’. Such inequality, according to them, included, poverty, corruption, among others.

The call came during the first private meeting, which was hosted by KPMG Professional Services. The meeting was a high level networking event and particularly targeted at exploring Africa’s leading economies.

At the meeting, a panel comprising the Chairman, KPMG Global Africa Practice and Senior Partner KPMG Nigeria, Mr. Seyi Bickersteth; the Chief Economists, African Development Bank, Prof Mthuli Ncube and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Business Unity, South Africa, Mr. Cas Coovadia, discussed the theme, “Driving Competitiveness through Cooperation, Integration and Economic Growth.”

Bickersteth said for the continent to reduce poverty, there was need to deepen intra-Africa trade, currently standing at 12 per cent.

According to him, “We really need to raise our game when it comes to intra-Africa trade.

“Some of the countries in Africa are very poor and if we need to have the kind of growth that we want in the continent, then we need to integrate trade.

“We need to reduce the heavy presence of people at the borders, who are basically interested in themselves rather than deepening trade.”

While contributing, Ncube noted that the poverty rate in the continent, which was put at 48 per cent could be brought down through the movement of people, capital and skills development, adding that what was being witnessed in Africa was not growth, but a situation of rising inequality caused by extreme poverty.

Ncube further stated, “What we are seeing is rising inequality in Africa and we need to deal with that by embarking on serious transformation to increase the income of people and reduce poverty.

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