Improving technology in Africa would reduce corruption, says Mauritius president

19 Oct 17

Technology is the “way forward” in the fight against corruption in Africa, the president of Mauritius has said. 

President Ameena Gurib-Fakim said corruption, both in reality and in perception, has a toxic affect on investment and is a “tax on the poor”.

She said that by “empowering technology”, countries could reduce practices of corruption and remove “all red tape”, at a talk at Chatham House yesterday.

President Gurib-Fakim added that Mauritius has “more or less digitalised the revenue authorities”. 

She stressed the importance of education to ensure economic development and the continent should decrease its reliance on natural resources and natural aid.

She also said corruption could be “tackled when we have educated people”.

Leaders should ensure “modern education for all” as a “the path out of poverty” and to economic development, Gurib-Fakin said at the talk Technology and Development in Africa: innovation for Sustainable Growth.

The chair at the event, professor Carlos Lopes from the University of Cape Town, said: “Technology often solves development challenges in the continent.” But he added that the region still faces a challenge of getting access to the necessary funding.

Mauritius’s 2030 vision is to become a “high-income country” and Gurib-Fakim said to get out of being a “middle-income country” it must double its growth.

It has topped World Bank rankings as the easiest African country to do business in and the African Development Bank has rated it as the most competitive in the country.

Africa is the home of 15% of the global population, but it only produces 3% of global GDP. The president said technology and innovation can drive development in Africa. 

She stressed the importance of building a “strong sustainable innovation-based African centric economy for current and future generations”.

The issue of the ‘brain drain’ was also raised at the talk. Gurib-Fakin said the leaders should make Africa “irresistible” and ensure its education is of the same quality as oversees to make the youth want to stay.

This would help mobilise the talent of the continent and “create an appropriate and attractive environment for people to want to come back”.

 “The only way to avoid this brain drain is to provide comparable professional and personal opportunities for our most talented daughters and sons. Only in this way will they stay in Africa or return home,” she said.

A key challenge is adapting technology that already exists to local needs and ensuring it is applicable, she added.  

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