Group calls for effective policy implementation in Africa.

[Photo: geographicguide.com]

The groups say African leaders must be more pro-active.

A group which scans trend monitoring activities in Africa, Africa Horizon Scanning Group, has called on African leaders to move from mere policy making and planning to impacting on the lives of their citizens.

The group, made up of four organisations: Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), The Society for International Development (SID), and South Africa Node of the Millennium Project (SANMP) utterly condemned the unconcerned nature of African leaders to pursue policies to levels where they begin to impact on the present and future.

Sheila Ochugboju, Chief Communications Officer of African Centre for Economic Transformation said leaders and policy makers should begin to look further than their term in office and work towards leaving a legacy.

Due to concerns of the effect of unstable policies, inability to follow policies through, and the desire to see policies have outstanding and visible impact in African countries, the group would be hosting a three day conference which would bring together policy makers and other strategic decision makers such as the private sector and civil society actors from various African countries to begin in Lagos tomorrow.

“The purpose of the event is to imagine what preferred futures for Africa might look like and how these might be enabled through leveraging enhanced foresight,” she said at a press conference on Friday, heralding the event.

Ezekiel Mutua, Information Secretary, Government of Kenya said gradually, the Kenyan government has begun to create a framework of accountability from its policy makers and office holders, which has begun to yield results.

“There must be a framework first, a raising of the bar through the constitution, there should be standards to be met, by the policy makers, office holders, before the media and other stakeholders can hold to accountability.

“In Africa, we are at a point where we have the opportunity to move forward, to the middle income level, at least, but we are facing enormous challenges,” he said.

According to him, some African leaders lack foresight, and even when they had plans, there was no mechanism put in place to make the available policy translate into improved and enhanced way of life.

“We need to ask ourselves what went wrong,” he said.

According to him, countries in Africa who have been celebrating their Independence anniversary for years, some, 50 years and more, are still fighting the same problems they struggled to address decades ago, and even in greater quantity.

“We are still having to address issues of poverty, ignorance and disease. Decades down the line, we are still fighting the same things. We should ask ourselves, what went wrong,” he said.

The event, sponsored by Rockfeller Foundation, an organisation which aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunities for more people in places worldwide, would bring together policy makers and other strategic decision makers such as private sector and civil society actors from varying countries in Africa.

Policy inconsistency is one of the major challenges that has caused the slow growth and development in African countries. In Nigeria, the menace has eaten deep into almost all sectors of the economy; from agriculture, trade and commerce, all the way to the nation’s educational system.

Stakeholders demand that the government and policy makers make use of conferences such as this to learn how other countries have been able to manage this menace to its barest minimum, so that the nation can move forward faster, and policies can begin to impact on lives and not only in reports.

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