Dr Okonjo-Iweala, Distinguished Fellow at Brookings Institution and former Finace Minister from Nigeria presented the final talk at TEDGlobal: Africa the next chapter. She spoke at the TED conference in Monteray, Califorian in Feb 2007. Africa the old: the next chapter. The growth in sub-Saharan Africa is strong and inflation is under control but the question is still out on poverty. External debt has come down to almost 50 billion to 12 or 13 billion. Reserves has been increasing. Foreign Direct Investment into Sub-Saharan Africa has increased from 6 to 18 billion. This all shows confidence. 62% of the population is below the age of 24. This is a clear sign the focus should be on the youth and bring them into a productive economy. A strong case can be made for supporting women by placing more resources in the hands of women – spending patters between men and women are different. Women spend more on human capital goods: household services, health, education and food.
The US and UK could not have been built without Africa’s Aid. When you situation is dire, and personal, you don’t care if it’s aid money or where the money comes from. Spain received $10 million in aid from the European Union. Ireland received $3 million in aid, and is now one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Neither of these countries felt guilty or bad in any way receiving this money.
A new set of aid entrepreneurs are emerging in the individuals who founded very wealthy foundations. They may take over from the aid received from governments one day. The question is open as to how interested they really are in helping Africa. Are they listening? Are invited to serve on their boards to help with making decisions? The answer is no!
Aid has to be a facilitator, it can be catalytic. China says Nigeria needs infrastructure and discipline to succeed. Within the private sector maybe aid can be used as a money guarantee. Her punchline is to help women get more access to resources – the research and statistics of this speaks for itself.The final question is what you will do with aid, the government, the private sector and the African as an individual.
Read this excellent interview with Dr Okonjo-Iweala here.