Africa needs better infrastructure in order to maintain the continent’s social and economic balance, former UN ambassador Andrew Young said in an interview with the World Bank on Tuesday.

“I wish Bill Gates and Warren Buffett had set aside about $10 billion of theirs for a global infrastructure fund,” said Young.

Young spoke from the seventh annual Leon H. Sullivan Summit in Nigerian capital, Abuja. He emphasized Africa’s tremendous growth opportunity.

“It’s [Africa’s] part of a global economy that’s got to work if the rest of it is going to work. We [the U.S] compete with the Chinese, we compete with the Europeans, but Africa can absorb everything we can produce, and it has the mineral wealth and the human resources to pay for it.”

Young commended Africa’s “spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation” after the harsh political and social conditions it has endured in recent decades.

Young commended Africa’s “spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation” after the harsh political and social conditions it has endured in recent decades. He added that the time is now to intelligently develop countries and help them realize their potential.

He singled out the Democratic Republic of Congo as an example. At the end of July, the embattled nation will hold its first democratic elections in 40 years.

“We’re not going to be able to compete with China if we’re producing just for Europe and China and Latin America, but if we start making trucks for Africa instead of just trying to make luxury automobiles.”

He added that building railways and roads throughout Africa would require finances far beyond what a small company could contribute.

The summit aims to bring the U.S private sector and African governments together to form partnerships to end Africa’s ongoing poverty crisis by expanding the private sector, building more economic infrastructure and transferring technologies to African nations.

Leon H. Sullivan, an African American humanitarian, first implemented the concept of uniting with Africa in the 1970s after becoming the first African American board member of General Motors Corp.

More than a dozen African countries are attending the annual summit along with executives from companies including Chevron Corp., Coca-Cola Co., General Motors Corp., and DaimlerChrysler AG.