African Ministers and Stakeholders Meet in Tunisia to Shape Africa’s Post-MDG Agenda

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From March 11-12, 2013, African Ministers, parliamentarians and policymakers met in Hammamet, Tunisia, to ensure that Africa plays a proactive role in shaping the future global development agenda.

In his keynote address to delegates, African Development Bank Vice-President for Operations Aly Abou-Sabaa said, “This is the time for Africa to set its targets for the post-2015 development agenda,” adding: “It is critical that the voice of Africa is heard and accepted” in formulating the agenda.

The meeting was hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and co-organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Africa Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The meeting was the third and final consultation on the post-2015 development agenda, following consultations in Mombasa, Kenya (October 1-2, 2012) and Dakar, Senegal (December 10-11, 2012).

The themes of the meeting included Africa’s priorities for the post-2015 development agenda, the financing of future goals and linkages with existing processes such as Rio+20. The meeting also included a review of the findings of previous national and regional consultations on the post-2015 agenda.

Participants agreed that future development goals should be about quality rather than the quantitative focus of the MDGs. There was a strong consensus for increased focus and better political support for more inclusive, greener and equitable growth with greater accountability of services and a transformation to innovation-driven economies that provide better jobs. They stressed the importance of improved financing and economic transformation through investments in human capital, science and new technologies.

“Africa needs comprehensive competitiveness. Human capital, science and technology, and infrastructure; all these areas are very important as we move forward into 2015,” said William Augustao Mgimwa, Tanzania’s Minister of Finance.

The meeting gathered a wide range of stakeholders in Africa’s future development including representatives from civil society, youth organizations and the private sector.

“The African Union considers this exercise as one of its key undertakings in the context of marking the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity/African Union scheduled to be commemorated in this coming May,” said Charles Awitor, Head of Economic Integration and Regional Cooperation at the African Union Commission. He added that the celebrations will provide the opportunity to look at Africa’s achievements registered and challenges faced in the last 50 years, informing the Africa Wide Development Plan 2063, currently under development at the AUC level.

Africa has made steady progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the internationally agreed targets which aim to reduce poverty by 2015. Advances have been made in primary school enrolment, gender parity in primary school enrolment, the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament and HIV and AIDS prevalence rates.

In stressing the importance of the bottom-up approach of the consultation meetings, Ayodele Odusola, MDG advisor, UNDP, said in his opening remarks that “this is an opportunity for participants to validate what should be the African perspective on the post-2015 development agenda and for us to give a collective voice to what should be main successor of the MDGs after 2015.”

An African position on the post-2015 development agenda will be endorsed by African Ministers and ratified by Heads of State at the African Union Summit in May 2013.