Abuja, Nigeria – The former African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson, Dr. Jean Ping, has expressed optimism that the next 50 years of the continental body will usher in greater development, given the growth being recorded across Africa.
“You see Africa has been facing a certain number of difficulties. If you remember well, some 10 to 20 years ago, Africa was considered as a hopeless continent and everybody abandoned the African continent to go to Asia, including our traditional partners. Nowadays they have discovered suddenly that Africa is a continent of hope, not hopelessness,” Dr. Ping told PANA at the weekend.
He spoke in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of a conference between Africa’s agricultural knowledge institutions and development partners in Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was set up in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but was transformed to the African Union (AU).
Dr. Ping, who was AUC Chairperson from 2008 to 2012, said the successes recorded in some Asian countries such as China and India in transforming their economies, could be replicated in Africa with good governance.
“You can see the rate of growth now in Africa, everything is moving fast. There is no reason, no single reason, to think that there are some countries which should be full of richness and others to be full of poverty forever.
“So what China and India and others in Asia succeeded to achieve, why shouldn’t we reach the same target? Remember at that time if you talked about poverty, you mentioned India, if you talked about hunger it was with China. I can assure you that we will overcome present challenges,” he added.
The former Gabonese foreign Minister, however, pointed out that Africa could only attain greater heights with concerted efforts on the part of the leaders and their followers to accord greater attention to agricultural research, science, technology and mobilization of the necessary resources to support the sector.