|The former president of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa (L) speaking to media in Dar es Salaam after finishing the High-level Dialogue which was organised by The Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) based in Johannesburg. (R) is the founder and Executive Chairman of MINDS, Dr. Nkosana Moyo. Picture by Cathbert Kajuna.|
THE former president of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa yesterday (14th March 2014) hosted various African thought leaders from trade, industry, political, civil society, consultants plus six former heads of state in an informal dialogue that discussed the pace of economic development in the continent.
Speaking to media in Dar es Salaam Mr. Mkapa said the one day High-level Dialogue was organised by The Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) based in Johannesburg and sought to address ways in which to make interaction between different sector leaderships more efficacious for African Development within countries and across the continent.
“We fully appreciate the fact that economic integration is a major driver of the development process in our countrys. We discussed at length various factors that drive this process forward. This is a totally informal dialogue by people that are concerned and interested in the pace of integration in Africa from obstacles, how we can overcome them and achievements we seek to find,” said Mr Mkapa.
Among those who took part in the closed door dialogue included six former Head of State and Government, namely former Presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania.
They were joined by the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka plus forty other distinguished invitees - former civil servants, CEOs, academics and some civic society thought leaders from various regions of the continent.
According to the founder and Executive Chairman of MINDS, Dr. Nkosana Moyo, the institution is an ‘Pan-African Think Tank’ born out of the realisation that Africa’s development efforts have a tardy impact, and that the dialogues can help Africa take ownership.
“The MINDS think tank was set up with the aim of creating a space/ platform to give sector leaders an opportunity to meet amongst ourselves and discuss issues of relevance to the development of the continent to identify any obstacles that are present and try to work out possible solutions to those obstacles,” Dr. Moyo said.
“In terms of the people that are invited to the dialogues, we include politicians, civil servants, private sector, civil society, women and youth. These stakeholders are involved in identifying obstacles to Africa’s economic development, trying to formulate response to the same and lobbying those currently running the continent to try and getting those policies formulated which are responsive to implementation of possible solutions,” he elaborated.
“Some of the issues addressed just to name a few, was the philosophy of economic integration since the Lagos plan of action, how far has been achieved since then to now, is the spirit still there? What can be done to give more momentum? We also went into the concept of development corridors in Africa for instance Maputo, Mtwara corridor, north- south corridor e.t.c. What state are they in, is the implementation vigorous enough, to what can be done to step that forward,” explained former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa.
MINDS received explicit endorsement by the late President Mandela as its founding in 2010. He said:- It is my hope that the Mandela Institute for Development Studies ( MINDS) will make a real difference in the resolution of the challenges that confront Africa through vibrant and robust debate, interrogating current paradigms and offering new approaches.
Ms Graca Machel, Mr Ali A. Mufuruki and Ms Sarah Mankaer serve on the Board of MINDS. It has an Advisory Board comprising Dr. Kaberuka, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Eweala, Mr Francis Daniel, and Mr Ayed Nouredinne.