In a two-day summit held in Dar es Salaam from May 20 – May 21, 2015, to discuss a wide range of issues that include sustainable growth and development, security and female entrepreneurship, rising urbanization, and the use of data to inform public policy in Africa, participants and speakers from Africa and around the world gathered at the Hyatt Regency Kilimanjaro to offer solutions. Amongst the distinguished delegates and speakers are Ambassador Alfred Dube of Botswana, Dr. Yaw Ansu, Chief Economist at the African Center for Economic Transformation, Dr. Jakkie Cilliers, Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies, Dr. Andre Bald of the World Bank, Cina Lawson, Togolese Minister of Post and Digital Economy, Marcos Neto of UNDP, Professor John O. Ifediora, of the University of Wisconsin, and Director of the Council on African Security and Development, Professor Oshita of Nigeria’s Department of Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Obey Ezekwesili, Co-founder of Transparency International, advisor to the Nigerian government and the World Bank.

Dr. Ezekwesili and Professor John Ifediora

In a press conference held at Abuja over the weekend shortly after his return from the summit, Professor John Ifediora had much praise for the robust and strong keynote speech delivered by Obiageli Ezekwesili at the start of the conference. He said, “Dr. Ezekwesili helped in defining the thrust of the summit with a passionate insistence on the empowerment of citizens through effective education, and acquisition of relevant skills in a modern economy that enable individual and collective prosperity. Her strong appeal for women empowerment and citizen-activism was inspirational.” Professor Ifediora further stated that the summit provided a powerful forum for participants to discuss the vital role of data and indexes to inform public policy initiatives that engender national economic development by targeting specific sectors more receptive to stimulus expenditure. But cautions in the closing session that data collection and analysis remain at the rudimentary level in many African countries and as such good care should be exercised on how they are deployed and interpreted, especially in instances where requisite social capacity and institutions are lacking or compromised.

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Solene Dengler and Professor Ifediora

The summit also explored ways in which progressive and sound business ethics and best practices in the public sector may promote prosperity in the African continent while addressing the needs for personal safety, and broader security challenges facing the continent. The panel discussions drew on the experience of speakers from Microsoft, Africa-America Institute, and African leaders in government, business, NGOs and representatives from a cross-section of civil society groups. Far from being ‘the hopeless continent’, as it has been framed in the past, evidence from the summit showed Africa to be on a path to inclusive and sustainable development.

Ambassador Alfred Dube of Botswana

The impetus for the summit derives from The African Prosperity Report, a publication launched in 2014 by the Legatun Institute, a London-based think tank; and the Ford Foundation, a major sponsor of the summit. The annual report provides a comprehensive overview of the continents’ performance, and ranks countries on key performance indexes. Through expert knowledge of the African continent, and extensive data collection and analysis, the report provides a broad picture of the state of affairs in all African countries.

Conference delegates