Former President of Ghana, Mr. John Kufuor, has called on African countries to pursue good governance and sustain the fight against corruption to sustain investor confidence and foreign investments.
He noted that African countries had in the last two decades liberalised their economies to attract investments, but said there was the need to make further gains by ensuring good governance.
Kufuor spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt in a keynote address he presented at the 2014 Energy, Environment, and Investment Forum (EEIF) organised by the Rivers state Government, with the theme: Sustainable Energy, The Key to Africa’s World Integration.
According to the former Ghanaian president, who is also the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, “In the course of the last two decades, African countries had generally liberalised their economies, by way of all-embracing regulatory reforms, making them investor-friendly.
“Most are practising good governance principles that should attract investment know-how and technology transfer.
"This has engendered an investment atmosphere of serious win-win public-private-partnership possibilities, to develop the African continent.
“However, African countries must make further gains in good governance by ensuring the rule of law, respect for constitutional rights, as well as the predictability of the law and of justice. They should pursue the fight against graft, corruption and malfeasance in government more vigorously. It is when these are pursued that investor confidence will be buoyed and the needed domestic and foreign investments will be realised.”
He also noted that Africa has abundant and year-round sunshine which could be tapped for ambitious solar energy generation for our use and for export, granted that the necessary transformational technological transfer would be available to make it affordable.
He called on African countries, especially those with vast areas of desert land, to embark on a vigorous regimen of energy production from solar and wind sources for domestic use and for export.
“We should immediately start investing in Sustainable Energy on a grand scale because not only is it the right thing to do, but also the necessary thing to do as we seek the sustainability of our planet and world integration,” he said.
“Indeed, in some parts of Africa, measures of health standards have rather declined. What seemed to have escaped the development planners when fashioning out these MDGs, is probably the appreciation of the centrality of energy access to all facets of human endeavours. They ostensibly failed to factor energy access as a critical and catalytic development goal needing its own specific and unequivocal objective of attainment.
Kufuor noted that the World Energy Outlook 2011 Report of the International Energy Agency had said there were 1.3 billion people around the world in developing countries without access to electricity, and more than 2.7 billion forced to cook with solid biomass, mostly using insufficient and polluting technologies.
“This is a large portion of the world’s population confronted with absolute energy poverty. These people are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Rivers State governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, described energy as the bond that connects economic, social, and environmental development, saying that no country can successfully reduce poverty without adequately addressing its energy needs.
Amaechi said; “Energy is the bond that connects economic, social, and environmental development. It is a launching pad for economic growth and plays a pivotal role in any attempt to achieve sustainable development. No country can successfully reduce poverty without adequately addressing its energy needs.”
He stated that his administration embarked on several projects to increase the availability of power in the state, including the construction of new power projects and rehabilitated old ones, pointing out that the focus of his administration was to achieve uninterrupted power supply across the state in 2015.
Amaechi noted that Nigeria was experiencing security challenges, but expressed optimism that the country would overcome the obstacles to development.