African Heads of State and Government at the weekend lauded Mr. Carlos Lopes of the Economic Commission for Africa for his active role in promoting and strengthening of African positions and causes during his term of office as the ECA Executive Secretary.
Heads of State and Government, and Delegations of Member States of the African Union meeting in Lomé, Togo, during last week’s Extraordinary Summit on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa, thanked Mr. Lopes for ensuring ownership, instilling new dynamism into the interaction between the ECA and African Institutions such as the African Union, the African Development Bank and the Regional Economic Communities.
The African leaders praised Mr. Lopes, who leaves the ECA at the end of October, for his dedication and meticulousness, time, energy and intellectual knowledge at the service of the continent, through various platforms for reflection, publications, colloquiums, symposiums and other conferences organized by the ECA.
“Considering that Dr. Carlos Lopes has undoubtedly written one of the finest chapters in the history of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, (we) express our profound gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Carlos Lopes, an illustrious son of Africa, a diplomat and economist emeritus, and extend our warmest and most heartfelt congratulations to him.”
At the same time Mr. Lopes was being honoured in Brussels with the Rebranding Africa Award for his role in championing the development of the continent.
The award, named Development Champion, was given to him on Friday by the Rebranding Africa Forum, which is championing the rebranding of the African continent.
The third edition of the Rebranding Africa Forum was held under the theme ‘Meeting the challenges of industrialisation in Africa’.
In accepting the award, Mr. Lopes said he was honoured to receive this recognition for his work on the continent.
“I wish to express my gratitude for this prize and am proud to be in the company of Kandeh Yumkella and Donald Kaberuka, the previous recipients of this award. This prize is not only for me, it is for all who recognize the need to transform our continent,” Mr. Lopes said in his acceptance speech.
“We need to tackle African problems as advantages; see them as opportunities to create a better Africa. Our continent has great advantages; a huge domestic market, renewable energy and low labor cost. If we do not wake up to use them to our advantage, we will have only ourselves to blame.”
A proponent for Africa to produce quality data as a means to ably measure the continent’s development and transformation in a credible manner, Mr. Lopes said the continent should know the size of its economies and base its knowledge of Africa on projections.
The Rebranding Africa Forum, which is an annual event, brings together political elites from across the globe, investors, economic actors, innovators, decision-makers and patrons of African and European institutions, among others to exchange ideas on projecting Africa in a better light and looking for better ways through which Africa can attract foreign investment and also create its own wealth using its own resources.