Oxfam’s report that the richest 1 per cent of the world’s population own more than the rest of the population should jolt Africa’s development planners into action to bridge inequality.The African continent has immense potential to drive its development agenda, but hasn’t fully harnessed it. While Africa’s resources are driving global industries, the continent is not faring well on productivity and wealth creation indices.
Africa must invest in its people with a view of making them bake the national cake and be productive. African governments must stop investing in tools of destruction (military armaments) instead of tools of productivity; stop looting their economies and ensure that formal property rights, free markets and the rule of law are enforced. This will enable people to own and exchange goods without fear of arbitrary expropriation by bandits or the state. The rich world, on the other hand, should remove tariff barriers imposed on goods from Africa. These concerted efforts will encourage economic activity hence escape from poverty.