Alongside four African leaders – Presidents Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Marc Ravalomanan of Madagascar and Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin - the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, attended the third edition of the ‘European Development Days’ which took place from November 15-17, 2008, in Strasbourg, France.
Speaking during the event as a member of a panel, Mr. Kaberuka focused on the current financial crisis and its impact on the continent. He drew attention to the need to reestablish confidence in the global financial system and regulations, calling for a review of the deficit in global economic governance.
Referring to the proposals from the G20 Summit in Washington, Mr. Kaberuka underscored that all countries should be represented in future discussions, adding that the global crisis would affect both poor and rich countries as well as developed and emerging markets. He said that the situation should not only be considered as a financials crisis, given that for Africa it comes to compound already existing crises such as energy, food, security, and poverty, as well as climate change-related challenges.
He argued that the "new multilateralism" must provide an integrated response to these interrelated questions. Changes to the international architecture must be developed accordingly. He drew attention to the meeting of African finance ministers and central bank governors that recently took place in Tunis on November 12, adding that Africa was ready to engage and play its part. The AfDB, he stressed, was ready to help.
Also speaking on the same panel, Benin’s President, Yayi Boni, and the African Union Chairperson, Jean Ping, also called for Africa’s voice to be heard, adding that decisions should not be taken behind closed doors and later imposed on poor countries.
The event brought together more than 300 participants from all the continents, including representatives of various international organizations and associations, non-governmental organizations, as well as the private sector attended the event. Other eminent guests included the Secretary-General of the Francophonie, Abdoul Diouf, as well as the Chairperson of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Laureate, Wangari Maathai.
In a related event, Mr. Kaberuka also shared his perspective on global development issues in the Ideas-for-Development blog on the theme: "How will the Financial Crisis Affect the South, and How Can European Aid Help Developing Countries Tackle This Challenge?"
Interacting with the web community, Mr. Kaberuka explained that the "G20 meeting this weekend was a good beginning. However, Africa’s effective representation and its interests remain unresolved. It is essential to have a common understanding for a solution acceptable to all from the preparatory phase of the next international meetings". He explained that "the world was not only going through a financial crisis but also an economic one…a global solution has to be found with the poor and not for the poor: an inclusive solution".
The European Development Days came on the heels of the African Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis organized on November 12, 2008, in Tunis, Tunisia, by the African Development Bank Group, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The Tunis meeting enabled Africa to adopt a common position on the global financial crisis and convey the continent’s expectations and concerns to the G20 Summit held on November 15 in Washington D.C.