Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi advised ministers of finance and economy gathered in Addis Ababa from all African countries to shift from neo-liberalism to a new development paradigm centred on developmental state, which allows active interference state in the economy.
Speaking at the opening of a regional conference entitle: ‘Governing Development in Africa: The Role of the State in Economic Transformation’, Meles said that the neo-liberal paradigm has got Africa’s development wrong both in terms of understanding the source of the underlying problem and the solution it prescribes.
In an open call for rapid action, Meles told the some 600 delegates, including about 60 African ministers, that “the debate on a new development paradigm cantered on the concept of a developmental state is welcome and long overdue” for Africa.
For the past three decades neo-liberal had failed to take African development far. “…It has failed to bring growth and economic transformation in Africa, among other things, its restless campaign to enfeeble the African state and its role in the economy has not succeeded in overcoming the environment of unproductive and pervasive rent-seeking,” he said.
“If anything such rent-seeking activities have become worse and more entrenched in the era of neo-liberal dominance. This suggests that the neo-liberal paradigm has got it wrong both in terms of understanding the source of the underlying problem and the solution it prescribes.”
“It is the establishment of developmental states which transformed the political economy of Asian countries and paved the way for sustained and accelerated growth and transformation of their economies,” the premier said.
This year’s ministerial conference will include the launch of the 2011 edition of the Economic Report on Africa (ERA2011), one of the flagship publications of ECA, which addresses the role of the state in economic structural transformation. The report includes an analytical appraisal of economic performance of the continent for the past year and expert projections for the coming years.