Thought leadership: 2008





Kivu Consensus on Competitiveness





The Lake Kivu Consensus on African economic competitiveness is the fruit of debate resulting from meetings in Italy and Rwanda in 2008. The Consensus proposes that reforming for competitiveness must become an African priority. It is an urgency underscored by the current global economic crisis and the emerging youth bulge in Africa's demography. Despite that there is no one path to a competitive economy, all countries that aspire to a future beyond aid must diagnose and remedy the shortcomings that limit their participation in the global economy. Successful cases of reform and development underscore the centrality of growth - and the private sector - to development. The Consensus outlines what African governments and other actors should be focusing on in this regard.

African leaders have the following to say about the 'Lake Kivu Consensus':

The Lake Kivu Consensus on African economic competitiveness is the fruit of debate resulting from meeting in Italy and Rwanda in 2008. The Consensus proposes that reforming for competitiveness must become an African priority, an urgency underscored by the current global economic crisis and the emerging youth bulge in Africa's demography. There is of course no one path to a competitive economy. But all countries that aspire to a future beyond aid must diagnose and remedy the shortcomings that limit their participation in the global economy. Successful cases of reform and development underscore the centrality of growth - and the private sector - to development. The Consensus outlines what African governments and other actors should be focusing on in this regard.

African leaders have the following to say about the 'Lake Kivu Consensus':

Armando Emílio Guebuza, President: Mozambique: 'The current global economic crisis is yet another and louder call for our countries in Africa to improve the competitiveness of their economies, institutions and policies. More importantly, it provides the stimulus for us to strengthen our resolve and quicken our pace in doing so. By outlining the steps forward, the Lake Kivu Consensus indicates that Africa has, once again, grasped this challenge for itself.'

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President: Liberia: 'Improving competitiveness is essential to dealing with Africa's marginalization and ensuring its renewal. If the recommendations forged in the Lake Kivu Consensus are taken seriously, African countries, irrespective of the particular development challenges that they face, will have a much better chance of integrating into the global economy and thus enjoy the same radical reductions in poverty that other successful developing countries have witnessed in the last few decades. The Lake Kivu Consensus on the strategies to improve Africa's competitiveness is thoughtful and doable.'

Mwai Kibaki, President: Kenya: 'I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you … for the good contribution you have made in producing the report on African competitiveness. The report is a timely piece of work which underlines the critical sectors and options to which we need to direct our attention and investments in order to improve the competitive index of our countries. We in Kenya have known all along that for growth and prosperity a country must be competitive in this fast globalising world. Indeed, the overarching vision of Kenya is to transform the country into a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. Kenya also believes in regional competitiveness and that is why we are in the forefront of supporting the ideals of our regional organisations: EAC, COMESA and IGAD. Kenya therefore would wish to associate itself with the Kivu Consensus report and recommend it to other African countries as we prepare to tackle economic challenges for the prosperity of our continent.'

Paul Kagame, President: Rwanda: 'Aid is bad for Africa - it has never built productive capacity to create prosperity, and never will. There is no mystery that competitive enterprises that create and sell products in domestic, regional and global markets are the real source of wealth. Africa cannot be exception - we need to quickly reform our laws and institutions for providing confidence to home-grown entrepreneurs and international firms to do business, while aligning our education and training with the demands of knowledge, skill and talent to provide a world class workforce. These two factors are critical for competitiveness - and Africa must master them to productively engage with the global economy. The Consensus forged at Lake Kivu usefully sets out these challenges and provides a practical and positive policy framework for their resolution. It should be widely studied.'

Donald Kaberuka, President: African Development Bank: 'Improving African economic competitiveness is critical to the continent's fuller and more productive participation in the global economy. The Lake Kivu Consensus assists not only in defining this challenge, but spells out how Africa and its partners could positively deal with the continent's competitiveness constraints. It deserves to be widely debated.'

Tendai Biti, Finance Minister: Zimbabwe: 'The Kivu Consensus on Competitiveness is a good construct which I fully endorse.'

Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chair: African Commission: 'Improving African economic competitiveness, integration with the global economy and growth go hand in hand. The Lake Kivu Consensus can guide us on this difficult but critical path.'

Mohammed Chambas, Executive Director: ECOWAS: 'Africa must find the means to add more value to its economies, raising the level of employment and giving all an enduring stake in stability through economic growth. The Lake Kivu Consensus - a Consensus forged in and by Africans - sets out the path to greater competitiveness and prosperity.'

Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary: UN Economic Commission for Africa: 'Africa's future growth and prosperity resides in improving its domestic competitiveness so that its businesses can compete productively in the global economy. This is not principally a challenge for donors and others but rather for Africans - which is why the Lake Kivu Consensus is a critically important document which needs to be widely read'.

Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary-General: COMESA: 'The Lake Kivu Consensus is comprehensive and in-depth … well articulated and covers most of the pertinent issues that can stimulate Africa in a sustainable long-term growth and development path through enhancing countries' competitiveness.'

William Lyakurwa, Executive Director: AERC: 'If Africa is to add more value to its natural resources and integrate more deeply and productively with the global economy to its advantage, we must grasp the nettle of improving competitiveness. The consensus forged at Lake Kivu provides us with the means to meet this exciting and rewarding challenge.'

This document is available in:





Choices for Africa





African governments face stark choices across a range of issues that impact countries’ economic growth.

  • How should government prioritise and focus public expenditure to maximum effect?
  • What is the future of resource extraction in Africa?
  • How can governments turn the continent’s rising youth population into a comparative advantage?
  • Why are African economies not more competitive?



This regularly-updated presentation addresses these key choices and challenges.

Download the full presentation here.

Keep up to date with the latest Brenthurst Foundation news
by subscribing to our news update service.

© The Brenthurst Foundation | Privacy Policy | Sitemap

You can also follow us on your preferred social network:

?