Public Lecture

Professor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile shortly discussed Africa’s economic performance since 1960, stressing the fact that Africa is now on the rise, with 6 of 10 fastest growing economies of the world now located in Sub-Saharan Africa. He concluded by pointing out that, building Africa cannot be approached as “business as usual” but will require concerted efforts.

After this address, Professor Paul Collier started his lecture “Development Challenges for Africa”. Professor Collier noted his optimism for Africa, especially in this time of natural resource discovery. He emphasised the fact this was a formidable opportunity, but also one that carried big risks. Indeed, his message was one of caution, warning the audience that for the resource wealth to transform into sustained and inclusive growth for the future, a certain set of actions need to be taken, or the continent will become vulnerable to resource depletion without long-term wealth increase.

To ensure a more sustainable use of resource revenues, Professor Collier proposed two necessary measures. First, he suggested that a strong emphasis be put on infrastructure, both by way of new investment and consistent maintenance. Second, he suggested the need for resource-rich African countries to build new institutions appropriate for the challenges they are currently facing, namely that of depleting natural resources over the course of the next 25 years; those institutions will need to be set up that manage long-term inter-temporal decisions.

Professor Collier defined institutions as “a team with a mandate and a capacity to implement the rule”. Those institutions should have the ability to both guide future policy-makers and increase their accountability to citizens. According to Professor Collier, some of the most important institutions to be developed or strengthened include institutions of transparency, institutions for better use of revenues, and institutions for better investment. Finally, it will also be necessary for African nations to develop a critical mass of citizens who understand those institutions and who will defend them. Professor Collier concluded his lecture by stressing the importance of stewardship and the need for better checks and balances.

As the end of the session, Dr. Louis Kasekende, Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda, invited the audience to comment and ask questions. Much to our delight, the audience asked a large number of questions and comments, revolving around the issues of human capital, managing expectations for future oil wealth and good government stewardship.