At the moment, one has to believe that Trevor Manuel has the best idea of what it's going to take to get Africa up to speed with the rest of the world from an economy point of view. So this makes his observations at a meeting of the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank rather pertinent:

Finance minister Trevor Manuel said in his keynote speech at the opening session of the meeting that the millennium development goals had swung Africa's thinking too far away from the productive sides of the economy.

Addressing the gathering of parliamentarians from around the world meeting with officials of the multilateral financial institutions, Manuel said that for most developing countries, "achieving the goals is as much about more rapid economic growth as it is about shifting around government spending".

He said that unlocking constraints to economic growth had to remain a central role of the governments of developing countries.

And he accused multilateral institutions of tending to dissuade developing countries from focusing on creating fiscal space, which he defined as the room that governments built through sound fiscal decisions to respond to economic and social needs.

"I think it is critical to moving African economies and governments from a position of dependence to one of independence."
full story from Business Report here