Alpha Condé: “We need investments, not donations”
Alpha Condé, new president of the African Union, in conversation with the German-African Business Association.
You have been the African Union’s president since the beginning of this year. What is your assessment of the African continent’s current situation?
Alpha Condé: There are two different situations: the one that can be seen on television – and reality. When people talk about Africa, they often talk about epidemics and disasters. But Africa is also the continent with the highest growth rates. And Africa’s population is extremely young – seven out of ten Africans are younger than 30 years old – and by 2050, there will two billion people will be living on the continent.
Will Africa be able to provide for these two billion people by its own efforts?
Alpha Condé: Our aim is to guarantee the supply of energy and to improve the infrastructure. With sufficient electricity, we will be able to process our raw materials here in our countries rather than exporting them to other countries for processing. Also, education plays a central role in the industrialisation of our country. We have missed many important developments in this respect, because slavery robbed Africa of many of its prime movers. Thanks to digital economics, we can now start to close this gap. With its two billion people, Africa is not just a huge market, but could also develop into the “factory of the world”, taking the role that Asia is currently playing. We can to produce at low cost and we are employing the new technologies. Furthermore, the proximity to Europe enables us to create profitable export conditions.
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The German G20-presidency focuses on intensifying economic relationship with African states. Do you think this is a step in the right direction?
Alpha Condé: We were most impressed by Chancellor Merkel’s commitment during our meeting at the Berlin at the Africa Conference in Berlin, her effort was a positive surprise for us. We think that the impulses given by the G20 and the European Union will not only strengthen our cooperation with Germany but also enable us to build important relationships with other EU-countries.
What are your hopes regarding the new Africa-concept?
Alpha Condé: We need investments and not donations. Not just public, but above all private investments that will enable us to establish sustainable public-private partnerships. Individual governments and the European Union have to facilitate investments and above all provide flexibility. Africa should be treated fairly and have access to loans. Without loans, we will not be able to achieve long-term development.
Apart from being president of the AU, you have also been the democratically elected president of Guinea since 2010. What is the situation in your country?
Alpha Condé: Under the former French colonial rule, Guinea was facing a hopeful future with regard to its agricultural and industrial potential. Unfortunately, the conditions that prevailed after we achieved independence prevented us from fulfilling this potential to the fullest. But nowadays, we are a democracy and our macro-economic problems are largely in hand. We are convinced that Guinea will take a big step forwards over the next 15 years and become an emerging country.
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