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Kusi Ideas Festival: Africa must rethink financing of infrastructure projects, says Pianim

The distinguished economist Kwame Pianim believes this could help reduce the dependence on development partners in financing critical projects

Kwame Pianim, a renowned economist, says Africa must adopt new ways of financing infrastructure development internally to fast-track development.

Pianim believes this could help reduce the dependence on development partners in financing critical projects.

Speaking at the third edition of Kusi Ideas Festival in Accra on Saturday (11 December), Pianim suggested using the pension funds burgeoning across Africa to finance infrastructure projects.

“The money to build the infrastructure is here in Africa. If we are prepared to build our income from pension funds – taking it from roughly 1% [of GDP] to 3% – that is $80 billion right here that can be spent,” he said.

“We need to find new ways of financing our big infrastructure projects. We cannot continue to depend on development partners or foreign financing to make our infrastructure possible.”

He added: “We need a seismic change of mindset for the economies of the continent of Africa to move.”

The theme for this year’s Kusi Ideas Festival is: “How Africa Transforms After the Virus”, with the subtitle “Beyond the Return – the African Diaspora and New Possibilities”.

About Kusi Ideas

Nation Media Group (NMG) launched the Kusi Ideas Festival in 2019 during its 60th-anniversary celebrations. The festival aims to be an “ideas transaction market” for the challenges facing Africa, and for the various solutions and innovations the continent is undertaking to secure its future in the 21st century.

The kusi is the southerly trade wind that blows across the Indian Ocean between April and mid-September, and enabled trade up north along the East African coast and between Asia and Africa for millennia.

Beyond trade, over the centuries, the kusi and other trade winds made possible cultural, intellectual and technological exchanges, and considerably shaped the history of the nations on the east coast of Africa, the eastern hinterland, and the wider Indian Ocean rim.

In the 21st century, the spirits of the trade winds express themselves in new ways. The Indian Ocean is a rich bed for the fibre-optic cables that make the Information Age possible in a large part of Africa.

The first Kusi Ideas Festival was held in Kigali, Rwanda, and was co-hosted by President Paul Kagame.

Fred Dzakpata

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