Eritrea contradicted the “Africa Rising” narrative in a United Nations address on Saturday, with the Horn of Africa nation cautioning that talk of an African Renaissance, of fastest growing economies, is misplaced and premature.
“We should not flatter ourselves, or allow others to flatter us,” Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed declared.
“Africa remains a producer and small-bit exporter of primary products,” he said, adding that “the most marginalised of all continents” benefits little from trade skewed in favour of non-African companies.
Mohammed observed that: “Processing of primary products, value-addition, industrialisation, technology development barely exist.”
In an unusually caustic speech at the annual gathering of world leaders in New York, Mr Mohammed said Africa will not take “its rightful place in the world” until its level of development more accurately reflects its great potential.
Africa must address the relative weakness of its economies, infrastructure, health and educational institutions, as well as its artistic, scientific and technological output, the Eritrean minister urged.
“More importantly, the quality of life of its citizens” must be improved, he said.