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Zanzibar's President Mwinyi urges Africa to  emulate Asia’s reforms

Zanzibar's President Mwinyi urges Africa to emulate Asia’s reforms

PRESIDENT Hussein Mwinyi yesterday called on African leaders to emulate Asia’s economic transformation strategies to promote development in the continent.

The Isle President said that remarkable economic transformation recorded in Asia should be emulated to help Africa to reform its economic development strategies including policies in order to improve the quality of life for its people.

Dr Mwinyi made the remarks at the official launch of the book entitled ‘The Asian Aspiration – Why and How Africa Should Emulate Asia,’ held in Zanzibar. He said that the author of the book has conducted timely research which will help the continent to learn new development gies that will transform the continent economy.

“This book is useful to us because it will also be used in the implementation of the blue economy policy,” Dr Mwinyi said. The president said in addition to emulating what the Asian countries have done, it is important also to focus on ‘innovation, learning being pragmatic’ so that Africa can move forward as far as development is concerned.

The book, which is divided into two parts, seeks to answer ‘What lessons can African countries learn from Asia’s successes and failures?, and was co-authored by a Researcher Greg Mills, former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, former Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn and Emily van der Merwe a Researcher.

The best practice research in the book was supported by Brenthurst Foundation, which has also agreed to help Zanzibar’s economic plan. The first part showcases the “growth stories” of ten East Asian and South-East Asian countries which are Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Vietnam.

It also analyses the developmental paths of the countries, pointing out what they did well to power their rise as well as their policy missteps.

The second section discusses five lessons for success from Asia and illuminates these with comparative examples from both Asia and Africa.

According to former President Obasanjo, the book, identify the vital principles of leadership, the policy choices and trade-offs that need to be made, and the policy execution that is required, “The authors emphasize the importance of differentiating between – and within – the East Asian countries, based on factors such as language, religion, economic wealth, governance systems and urban-rural divides,” he said.

Obasanjo and his colleagues urged using the ten case studies that the phenomenal changes that have taken place in East Asia are not the product of magic, but are the result of calculated policy actions.

He mentioned some of the successful countries like Japan, Singapore and South Korea which, because of better planning and committed leadership, have moved forward.

Former Ethiopian PM said that the countries in Asia have placed a great deal of store on hard work, discipline, education, innovation, incentivization and growth, and that the experiences have been absorbed and replicated by other countries across the region, Vietnam being among them.

He said that the book outlines five lessons for Africa from Asia’s success, encapsulated under the headings: The premium of leadership and institutions, Don’t be a prisoner of the past; Get the basics right for growth; Build and integrate; Open up to keep control; and Call to action.

The book was published before the Covid 19 outbreak which has wrought significant social and economic damage across the world, including Africa.

According to analyst Prof Mills Soko, International Business and Strategy, Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, the book’s message makes it even more relevant and urgent, given the pressing need for African countries to implement institutional and policy reforms to counter the effects of the pandemic.

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