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African leaders must change, says Raila Odinga

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By OUMA WANZALA
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Africa’s development agenda will only be realised if there is fundamental change in the mindsets of its leaders, African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga has said.

Speaking at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe during an infrastructure conference, Mr Odinga said leaders will have to take transformative decisions and be innovative in the way they approach persistent problems.

“With regard to infrastructure, these problems include inadequate road and air connectivity and trade deficits which we as a continent have come to accept as the normal state of affairs. We live in the digital information age. We must therefore fast-track the unblocking of political bottlenecks for ICT broadband and fibre optic projects linking our States. Africa’s children and leadership must be helped to access information at the click of a button or we shall never compete,” said Mr Odinga.

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He went on: “In this quest, old habits and old paradigms must give way to well-thought out initiatives and I am glad we have embarked on this. I see such a shift in the creation of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative and the High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa Initiative.”

He urged delegates to push in the same direction. “If we all commit to this common cause, our efforts will be realised sooner rather than later,” he said.

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