African nations need vision to propel development: Najib

Political leadership without vision would lead the African continent to nowhere in terms of development, Najib told the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue. – AFP pic
Political leadership without vision would lead the African continent to nowhere in terms of development, Najib told the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue. – AFP pic

DAR ES SALAAM, June 29 – African nations need a clear vision with political leadership in propelling their development to the next level, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, here, today.

Political leadership without vision would lead the continent to nowhere in terms of development, he told the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre, here.

Speaking to Malaysian journalists later, Najib said he shared with about 800 participants that they need science, technology and innovation policies in setting the development direction of their respective countries.

“They need to take into account the human capital and financial capital aspects,” said Najib, adding that they needed to draw their development plans according to their needs as there was no single formula that could be fixed for all.

He said African countries were still exporting their raw materials and they could not enjoy appropriate returns as they did not put value-add to their exports.

Touching on the Smart Partnership Dialogue, Najib said Malaysia had benefited from its involvement with this region through the dialogue in the past 18 years.

“Our networking in this continent is better than others as the result of the dialogue and there are more opportunities for Malaysian companies to venture,” he said.

For example, among others, he said Petronas’ involvement in Sudan, the opening up of LimKokWing University of Technology and Creative branches in Lesotho, Botswana, Kenya and Swaziland and a Uganda-based Malaysian businessman who imports millions of dollars worth of furniture from Malaysia to Uganda.

Najib called on Malaysian businessmen to increase their presence in this region and that they should study the opportunities seriously as well as understanding the local situation.

He said the Smart Partnership Dialogue had provided a win-win situation for Malaysia and the region as both benefitted from it since its inception in 1995.

Other benefits, Najib said Malaysia got political support from this region too at the United Nations.

He said Malaysia was willing to share its technological capabilities with African countries and that they were interested in technology used by Malaysia for land, information communications technology (ICT) and education development.

Touching on the bilateral meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapakse on the sidelines of the dialogue, Najib said the latter had invited him to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Colombo end of this year.

Rajapakse is among the 14 Heads of Government and States attending the dialogue.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete when opening the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue here last night, called on African countries to invest in the Science, Technology and Innovation sector as an important means to transform the continent’s development.

He said they should invest in education as well as research and development in building up their technological capabilities. – Bernama