African states, businesses must change tune – Kirubi

Dr Kirubi who is Treasurer of the newly formed African Union (AU) Foundation said it was time the continent stopped depending on foreigners to finance its development/CFM

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – Business mogul Dr Chris Kirubi has called on African governments and businesses to come together in advancing the African agenda.

Dr Kirubi who is the Treasurer of the newly formed African Union (AU) Foundation said it was time the continent stopped depending on foreigners to finance its development and began pooling its resources in its own interest through greater government-private sector partnership.

“Africa is poor by choice. We need predictable policies to invest in our own continent. If you beg for every project, they will remind you that who pays the piper calls the tune,” he said at the launch of the AU Foundation during the 24th Ordinary AU Summit.

In that spirit Dr Kirubi said the Continental Free Trade Area which is meant to be operational in 2017, is long overdue.

“We need to open up our own markets. What are we protecting them from? How does insulating Mumias Sugar for instance help it grow? Competition will force us to stretch and think outside the box. Our businesses will be better for it and for the larger market,” he explained.

Increased engagement between Africa’s governments and private sector through the AU Foundation, he said, was therefore a step in the right direction.

He gave the Africa Against Ebola joint initiative between the AU and the private sector as an example of the direction Africa should be heading. “We are the solutions to our own problems,” he said.

In tune with which he also supported the decision taken by Kenya in contributing US$1mn toward the setting up of an African court.

“How can we remain subjects in this respect to the people who colonised us yet claim our independence? Even the United States which espouses checks and balances does not subscribe to the International Criminal Court. Are African leaders voted in by a lesser electorate?” he posed.

Like Kenya on the African Union court, Kirubi said he had also put his money where his mouth is with regard to the AU Foundation by contributing US$100,000.

“We are now working on launching the Foundation in various African countries as we work to raise awareness,” he shared.

The AU Foundation is part of the instruments meant to bring the continent closer to Agenda 2063 which aims to socioeconomically transform the continent in the next 50 years through Pan-Africanism.

OLIVE BURROWS :With a decade of storytelling under her belt, Olive Burrows has been with Capital FM for the last four years and perhaps most notably interviewed US President Barack Obama. Committed to asking the hard questions and telling the story in the most engaging way possible, she has also interviewed Melinda Gates, a UK Minister and severally had the opportunity to sit across from President Uhuru Kenyatta and address the pressing issues of the day. Other notables she has had occasion to seek answers from are UN Secretary General António Guterres and John Kerry in his time as US Secretary of State.