NAIROBI, November 21 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged Africans to define their own destiny by steering a home-grown development agenda to cut reliance on foreign funding.
The PM told guests at a magazine launch on Thursday night that a widespread notion where tangible development in Africa is impossible without funding from western countries and the Bretton Woods Institutions was misplaced.
“It is time the continent sought alternative sources of capital from local resources,” he added.
“We have two categories of people in this continent, those who are Afro optimistic and think that nothing is impossible to achieve and others who are Afro pessimists who perceive the contrary,” he said.
Mr Odinga cited a case earlier in the year in which the World Bank suspended funding for major road projects in the country on learning that a former Finance Minister had resigned from the government to pave way for investigations.
The Premier went on to accuse the foreign press of painting the continent in bad light and urged The African Mirror monthly, which he was launching, to rectify the trend.
He decried the international press for influencing the perception of policy makers and prejudiced the decision making process for western nations, who withhold assistance to the continent whenever there is negative publicity.
“The perception of policy makers and of the general public in those countries is rightfully reflected in their national decision,” the PM said.
Mr Odinga regretted that the continent was endowed with untapped resources and yet was the poorest in the world.
The PM said Africans had the ability to shape their future and challenged Kenyans to fight the ethnic fault-lines that polarised the nation. “Forge ahead in a united front towards the development of the nation,” he enunciated.