Monday, November 16, 2009

Mo Ibrahim says some African states are not viable

African Mobile Phone tycoon Mo Ibrahim spoke at a two day conference promoting good corruption free government in the African continent. Ibrahim says that governments need to integrate or else their states would perish. Ibrahim urged conference attenders ask if their leaders are really serious about solving problems.

From Reuters writer Katrina Manson attended the conference and gives us some quotes from Ibrahim's speech.

"Some of our countries, and I'm really sorry to say this, are just not viable," the Sudanese mobile phone tycoon said.

"We need scale and we need that now -- not tomorrow, the next year or the year after."

Several overlapping regional groupings throughout the continent are trying to knit their economies closer together, but the pace and extent of integration is slower than hoped.

"Intra-African trade is 4-5 percent of our international trade. Why? This is unacceptable, unviable, and people need to stand up and say this," Ibrahim said.

"Who are we to think that we can have 53 tiny little countries and be ready to compete with China, India, Europe, the Americans? It is a fallacy."

The $5 million Ibrahim Prize, which has previously been awarded to outgoing presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Festus Mogae of Botswana, was not awarded this year.

Judges led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said although there were some credible candidates, they would not make an award. They did not explain why.

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