Picture: AFP
Picture: AFP

It is hard to disagree with Patrick Bond’s assertion that capitalism is in need of reform. The theme of this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa, with its focus on inclusive growth and responsible leadership, was chosen specifically with this purpose in mind.

For the region to enjoy a peaceful and prosperous future, Africa’s leaders must urgently address capitalism’s failings: income inequality; short-termism and corruption. More importantly still, they need to listen to the needs of everyone — all ages, incomes, ethnicities — rather than simply serving a small elite.

There is no perfect model for development but in other parts of the world — most notably Asia — rapid economic growth, job creation and emergence from poverty has been achieved in a few short decades through such an approach.

The same can happen in this continent but only if all stakeholders work together, which is why we were proud in Durban last week to count on the participation of so many civil society, youth and labour leaders alongside those from business and the government.

The purpose of bringing these people together under one roof was to build a broad-base of support to tackle the long-term, difficult challenges Africa faces. Now that the meeting is over, it’s time for the action to begin.

Oliver Cann
Spokesperson, World Economic Forum

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