Why policies suffer setbacks in Africa – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday identified poor implementation of development policies by African governments as a big impediment to the prosperity of the continent.
The former president spoke in Lagos at the public presentation of the book ‘Making Africa Work’.
The book was co-authored by Obasanjo, Greg Mills, Jeffrey Herbst and Davies Dickie, all of the Brenthurst Foundation.
Obasanjo, who chairs the foundation, said African governments were never in want of sound development policies, but most of them suffered setbacks owing to little or no implementation.
He blamed the situation on lack of political will by leaders, poor funding and lack of continuity in governance.
The ex-president said the penchant of African leaders to reverse the working policies of their predecessors was another problem.
He recalled that some of the reforms of his last administration, as good as they were, were reversed by successive administrations, which affected the course of development.
Obasanjo said others like pension reforms could not be reversed because they had become so entrenched in the system.
“Let me give you specific examples in Nigeria. We came up with something called NEEDS.
“The idea is to fast-track the development of the country: political, economic, infrastructural and so on.
“It contained ideas that the states could take from to facilitate their own development.
“So what happened? We have done the first phase but the administration coming after us discontinued without really understanding what it meant. So, lack of continuity coupled with finance and lack of political will are some of the problems,” he said.
The former president urged African countries to fight poverty and create opportunities through wealth creation and employment generation.
Gov Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos commended Obasanjo and his co-authors for the piece.
Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Mrs Idiat Adebule, said the book contained points that could propel the continent’s development, if attention was paid to it.
Jeffrey, in a speech, said Nigeria could witness great development if it addressed some of the barriers to sustainable development. (NAN)