Going forward from Doha: How to keep Africa’s Aspirations Alive

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Doha, December 2, 2008 - How to ensure Africa maintains the momentum created since the Monterrey Summit in 2002 in a dramatically altered landscape must remain top of the agenda for Africa and her partners; The President of the African Development Bank said yesterday in Doha.

"The significant advances made by Africa on all fronts since 2002, were, indeed fragile, but they were real.  That is now being tested by the multiple crises the continent has faced over the last 24 months" said the President.

Speaking at the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development’s event on Africa, he said: "There is now little doubt the financial crisis will, and is already impacting on African economies through multiple channels; which cumulatively, are leading to slowdown and contraction of the economies of many countries in Africa.  The result is lower government revenues, fiscal retrenchments, cutbacks in social programs, infrastructure projects abandoned business closures and strains in the banking sector"

Keeping commitments on ODA, on aid effectiveness, on trade reform is now more urgent than ever.  The President added: "Countervailing finance from Africa’s partners and International Financial Institutions will now be even more critical than it has been in the past", urging for flexibility, speed and innovation.

Speaking earlier to Africa’s business leaders, he reaffirmed the African Development Bank’s commitment to boost its support to the private sector, to help in ensuring that vital key infrastructure projects are not abandoned, to enable banks to continue accessing trade finance and to work with Governments and business to ensure momentum on business reform does not slip back.

President Kaberuka urged rich countries to take a long term view of the financial crisis and its multi-polar impact: "This crisis has built up over many years. It has come at the worst possible time for Africa when our economies were already straining from urban food riots, inflation and other macroeconomic strains".

It is therefore essential, the President added that, the poor countries have a voice in the search for solutions.  It was critical to look beyond the narrow realm of the financial questions to development emergencies facing the poor and developing countries.

President Kaberuka expressed the strong hope that in the months ahead, in the context of the G20 process, rich countries, emerging economies and poor nations come together in search of sequential but comprehensive solutions in which the voice of Africa is heard and taken into account.

"We cannot afford Africa to slide back, we cannot afford another lost decade for Africa.  Let the Doha Conference re-energize all for greater global stability and sustainability, sticking to ODA commitments, to the Accra Agenda for action, for trade reform and for a new multilateral system in which all are stakeholders. We have come a long way since the Monterrey Consensus, we face new strains but we must keep development and poverty at the centre of the agenda" The President said.

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Magatte Wade Phone: 71 10 22 44