President Kaberuka Supports SADC Poverty Reduction Efforts at Conference in Mauritius

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Port Louis, 21 April 2008 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, participated in the SADC International Conference on Poverty and Development held on Sunday, 20 April 2008, at the Swami Vivekananda International Conference Center in Mauritius, where he made a keynote address in support of efforts by member states of the community to reduce poverty and attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mr. Kaberuka spoke on the major challenges facing the SADC region in the fight against poverty. Among other points, he highlighted the importance of maintaining peace and stability, achieving food security, consolidating the gains from economic reforms, improving the investment climate and spreading the benefits of growth across society.

The theme of the conference was: "Regional Economic Integration: A Strategy for Poverty Eradication towards Sustainable Development". The conference was held at the behest of the SADC Heads of State and Council of Ministers and drew more than 500 participants from across the SADC region. The decision to hold the conference arose from concerns over persisting high levels of poverty amongst SADC citizens, despite multiple efforts and firm commitments by governments and other stakeholders in the region to combat and prioritize poverty in national developmental strategies and programs. The conference was organized as a high-level and strategic dialogue between SADC Heads of State and Government and key stakeholders from the region and internationally to reflect on and adopt innovative approaches to the region’s poverty eradication efforts to meet the MDGs targets.

The Opening Ceremony was attended by a distinguished audience including the Heads of State and Government of South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, the Comoros Islands, the Seychelles, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Lesotho, and Norway. Also attending were the heads of a number of development and cooperating organizations including the EU Commission for Aid and Development, COMESA, the ITU, and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Mr. Kaberuka also participated in one of the parallel panel sessions on ‘The SADC Regional Economic Integration Agenda – Paving a Road to Economic Growth and Poverty Eradication.’

Contributions from interactive discussions at the various sessions will be factored into the appropriate programs and strategies of the Regional Poverty Reduction Framework (RPRF) and the Poverty Observatory (PO). The RPRF and PO were proposed for adoption so as to enhance the SADC region’s poverty eradication measures.

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