Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will chair a new panel to drive the transformation of Africa’s economies, it was announced at a major financial summit in Accra this week.
The African Transformation Leadership Panel will focus particularly on opportunities for women and young people in its efforts to reform Africa’s economies, said Dr K.Y. Amoako of the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), who will also join the board.
The announcement came during the African Transformation Forum (ATF), where many of the continent’s leading thinkers gathered to discuss the policies and partnerships needed to drive sustainable growth and regional integration.
Key attendees included founder and head of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Cote d'Ivoire's Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan, and executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) Dr Vera Songwe.
“We need leadership that promotes growth for the many, not the few. As this continent’s first female president and the former leader of a very young population, I am passionate about getting our economies firing for everybody. We must learn from and with each other to develop a shared vision. That’s what this panel is all about, it’s very exciting,” said Ms Sirleaf.
“Our biggest economic opportunities are social ones too. By 2035, 450 million Africans will have joined the working age population, more than the rest of the world combined in that time. Our economies will leap forward if we create jobs these young people know how to do. Achieving this will require leaders committed to sustained investment and intelligent policymaking. That work starts now,” said Dr Amoako.
Heads of state, senior government officials and business leaders were among approximately 300 delegates from the public and private sector at the ATF.
Discussions focused on themes including improving regional integration, energy efficiency and technological innovation, and tackling youth unemployment and gender inequality.