KIGALI, Rwanda, Aug. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rwanda and Ethiopia have suggested new development models they believe can help Africa break away from the prescribed Western models.
Leaders of the two countries and those from other states agreed that Africa should stop being bullied into "accepting policies that misrepresent us and do us harm in the end."
Speaking at a high-level inaugural symposium organized by the 'Meles Zenawi Foundation' in partnership with African Development Bank, on August 21, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said that time has come for Africa to stop being "a place where experiments are being carried out."
The discussion, under the theme "The African Democratic Developmental State", was inspired by ideals from late Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, who believed that Africans needed to shape their own destiny by "doing things their own way."
He believed that: "In spite of the monstrous homogeneity in policy stance that we have allowed ourselves to be shackled with, there is some space for policy experimentation and diversity commensurate with our diverse circumstances."
Current Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said that, "We must have a new beginning for Africa."
The dialogue pondered on perceived contradictions between Zenawi's philosophy of 'developmental state' and democracy.
"They are actually mutually reinforcing – sustainable socio-economic development gives rise to greater democracy. Political rights can best be exercised and enjoyed in a climate of growing prosperity and improved quality of life," Kagame said.
Kagame told over 200 participants attending the symposium in Rwanda's capital Kigali that, "Those who tell us the state is bad for us mean that they will fill the void and become the state and run the markets."
Ghana's Vice-President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur attended the event, which was moderated by Former US State Department Secretary for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer.
The outgoing African Development Bank President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, said that "nobody should dictate the continent...no one knows how development happens."
Kaberuka said that from 1980 the World Bank forced Africa to take up the dead paradigm of eliminating governments from the development process, but it's time "every country decides what works for it."
For Africa to achieve its aspirations, Kagame said, it "must stop taking lessons from the outside."
"The problem is people provide the definition, thinking of their own interests, not where it will be exercised."
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SOURCE KT Press