Africa has Great Expectations from Rio+20, Says AfDB President

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The outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro, is centrally important for the future of Africa, said the president of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka.

Speaking at a High Level Round Table on implementing the expected outcomes of Rio+20 on 20 June, Mr Kaberuka said: “I join African leaders who spoke before me in welcoming the outcome of this Summit.”

He pointed out that: “Today, twenty years ago, a bold vision was spelt out and a clear road map agreed upon. Today, twenty years after, at a time of global economic stress, that agenda is now even more urgent than ever.  And none have a bigger stake than the low income countries.”

He went on to say that, while Africa has lately seen strong economic growth and a significant improvement in human development indicators, “the journey remains long in making a lasting dent on poverty. You will understand therefore why Africa’s expectations in the Summit are high.”

The sustainability of Africa’s recent economic achievements, said Mr Kaberuka, was under threat from serious global economic crises. Therefore, he said, “the focus of this conference on the triple agenda of economic, social and ecological sustainability is central to our continent’s future development strategy.”

The AfDB will play its role in the process, said Mr Kaberuka. “On its part, the African Development Bank, within its mandate, and in the light of the outcome of this Summit will continue and deepen its role as financier, partner and advisor to African countries in fostering inclusive development which provides hope and opportunities for its people, and in particular, its youth.”

He continued: “We will focus on sustainable energy solutions and infrastructure, food security, building resilience, national inclusive green growth and climate adaptation plans as well as valuation of natural capital.”