Eveline de Klerk
SWAKOPMUND – Renowned Kenyan academic and staunch Pan-Africanist Patrick Lumumba says the continent will not realise the sustainable development goals if it continues to tackle set targets and goals at the current pace.
In fact, he said, Africa will be chasing a mirage.
“The rest of us were chasing a mirage and once again came up with the sustainable development goals and the visions 2030 and 2050 among others,” said Lumumba who was addressing the East and Southern African Association of Accountants General (ESAAG) annual conference, which started in Swakopmund on Monday.
“I am not a prophet of doom but Africa will not realise the sustainable development goals if we continue on the path on which we are. We need to rethink our course and see what it is that we can do. Only then can we transform ourselves in a middle level continent so that our people can enjoy quality education, health services, value addition, embrace the fourth industrial revolution and create innovative opportunities for our youth.”
ESAAG is a regional association of accountants, consisting of 14 member countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The professor who was addressing the professionals is of the opinion that Africa over the years failed to attain declared objectives and set targets to bring about economic development, better health and education for the continent.
“Indeed, there is no shortage of laws, regulations, guidance and rules from treasuries and central African banks that can pave way for economic prosperity that can accelerate growth in African countries,” he told the accountants and public finance managers from 14 African states attending the five-day conference.
According to Lumumba, many in the financial sector will disagree with him, “hence I must explain myself in the context of appreciating the history of Africa,” he said.
He said Africa always had its affairs guided by treaties and international conventions dating back as from early 1900s.
“Under these conventions, Africa tried to engage with Europe, we were obligated in the domestic arena to develop our public finance management but never achieved the set target,” said Lumumba.
He says the same can be said about the Lagos Action Plan of 2000 which was supposed to improve domestic performance by realising the set objectives in education, health, manufacturing sector.
“This also run aground and was abandoned just as the structural adjustment action plan which reminded the continent that government has no business in the private sector. However, we sold out things owned by government, such as our telecommunications networks,” Lumumba explained.
He noted that Africa also came up with the millennium development goals saying that they also fall flat with only Botswana and Mauritius realising the set objectives.