Carlos Lopes, professor in Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town, says Africa’s progress in terms of reducing inequalities continues to be overlooked even as inclusive society models become more widespread in countries across the continent. He speaks about the importance of changing the narrative on Africa – moving from pessimism and stories of fragility to optimism – explaining that the negative, pessimist narrative about Africa is enshrined in very deep-seated beliefs.
Lopes, an African Union High Representative for Partnerships with Europe, explains why African countries need to change from structural adjustment to structural change that transforms their economies, manage the underlying causes of conflict and make use of economic peacebuilding opportunities to nurture social cohesion. He gives examples of incredible progress – in African countries from Rwanda through Namibia to Morocco – that are indicative of sustainable change already happening, and talks about ways intergenerational and universal solidarity can protect peace in Africa.
Carlos Lopes is former executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa and co-author of the recently published book “Structural Change in Africa: Misperceptions, New Narratives and Development in the 21st Century”.
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