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Mbeki: Africa must focus on rural areas to achieve inclusive economy

Thabo Mbeki says there is also a certain kind of leadership necessary to realise inclusive economic growth.

Former president Thabo Mbeki speaking at the African Leadership Forum in Boksburg on the East Rand. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki says that in order for African countries to achieve an inclusive economy, the economic focus needs to shift to rural areas.

He says that a strong state and leadership will also help in setting up programmes suitable for both urban and rural areas.

Mbeki was speaking at the 4th Annual African Leadership Forum convened by former heads of states in Boksburg.

The former president says that there is a certain kind of leadership necessary to realise inclusive economic growth.

“But to achieve these things I’m talking about, you need a strong state but in addition to that, you need a progressive leadership.”

He says that African leaders should address the issue of subsistence, agriculture and train people to participate in trading.

“You must be able to address matters of security but we must also create possibilities for these people to produce enough food to sell to the market.”

Mbeki says that should be done before the redistribution of assets to allow those acquiring them to be in a position to properly make use of them.

Earlier, former deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said that inequality across Africa has increased.

He said that unless African states are made more inclusive, economic growth won't translate into large scale poverty alleviation.

"We know that income inequality reduces the growth poverty elasticity of an economy. In simple terms, the higher the inequality, the less reduction in poverty."

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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