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Tunis, 29 November 2009 – The global financial crisis which is making a huge negative impact on Africa’s economy provides a rare opportunity for the continent to redefine its development paradigm.
This is the central message of a day-long multi-stakeholder forum on Africa and the global financial crisis which opened in Tunis on Saturday, under the auspices of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), chaired by Botswana’s former President, Festus Mogae.
(CoDA) is a joint venture between the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). It was established as a successor forum to the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA), the Big Table (Africa – OECD) and the African Development Forum, which were policy forums established in the 1990s to promote dialogue on Africa’s development.
Addressing participants, the convener and CoDA Board Chair, Abdoulaye Bathily, said the financial crisis provided Africa with the opportunity to intensify efforts to exit the vicious cycle of stagnation and dependence.
“CoDA will support efforts to redefine Africa’s development paradigm, and above all, the emergence of new practices and citizen actions in Africa’s public space,” said Mr. Bathily, a Senegalese academic and former minister.
Welcoming the participants, the AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, said CoDA could play an important advocacy role to enable Africa cope with the crisis. Mr. Kaberuka also explained the Bank Group’s proactive and innovative response to the crisis that helped many regional member countries stay the course.
For his part, the ECA Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh, emphasized the need to focus on the ways all stakeholders could be involved in harnessing the continent’s resources and talents to generate employment and wealth which are critical to sustainable development.
Two key presentations on “Africa’s Alternative Response to the Global Financial Crisis” and “The Financial Crisis and Social Development in Africa: an Opportunity for Strategic Change”, generated intensive discussions at the forum.
Former President Mogae told journalists at the end of the deliberations that CoDA’s final report, to be released in the coming days, strongly recommends a general capital increase and replenishment of Bank Group resources to enable the institution to fully play its role in meeting the huge challenge facing the continent.