The African Development Bank says that even though more than two-thirds of the continent has registered overall improvement in the quality of economic governance in recent years, and the cost of starting a business has fallen by more than two-thirds over the past seven years, the continent needs to make major changes in its economic reforms to achieve its full potential.
Speaking in Lagos Nigeria, former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili agrees and urges Africa to continue working towards improving economic reforms.
“When I was driving from the airport in Lagos, I saw windows without light and that brought back memories of my country in the 90s,” Mikheil Saakashvili told CNBC Africa.
Mikheil Saakashvili is a Georgian politician and was the third president of Georgia for two consecutive terms from January 2004 to November 2013 and brought about major changes in the country.
“We had very similar problems, power failure, infrastructure problems, we had a huge problem with infrastructure. Huge problems with the Bureaucracy and poverty,” he said
Due to a civil strife in Georgia in the 1990’s the country’s economy suffered severe damage but has recovered tremendously today. Brought on by gains in the industrial and service sectors, the country’s GDP grew significantly and the country is currently number eight on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking.
“We moved from 112th to number 8. At the end if you to the world’s international organisation, we have the world’s fastest registration of property, world’s fastest registration of companies, world’s fastest issuing of ID’s,”
“90 per cent of regulations was scraped, we scraped all the agencies because they were there to extort money from people and not to help them. We scraped the entire police force, and we were for a few months almost without no police,” he explained
“The main lesson is that, we had 10 per cent of society that was flourishing in corruption, that was flourishing on people not having electricity, what we did was that we went against the interest of this 10 per cent,”
According to him, even though the 10 per cent were small in number, they had interest in keeping the status quo or even making things worse and though they were numerically small, they had money, power and the media.
“I saw in Lagos, there are lots of improvements on electricity, there was some improvement on transportation. Once you show even a small difference and people believe you that you can deliver, then, they follow you,” he added.