AU and ECA Hold Joint Annual Ministers Conference

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AU and ECA Hold Joint Annual Ministers Conference

The First Joint Annual Meetings of AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA African Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has taken place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week. The theme for the Conference was "Meeting Africa’s New Challenges in the 21st Century". This unique event is a result of the proposal endorsed by the 12th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union at its meeting in Accra last July. The main objective of the joint meeting is to provide a platform for in-depth discussions and policy debate on the new challenges to Africa as a continent and to enable Ministers to formulate strategies and its concrete actions to effectively confront the challenges.

The conference started with a very important session entitled "Presidential Reflections". The session was organized as part of a special event to mark the 50th anniversary celebrations of the ECA. It engaged eminent personalities with the view to benefiting from their intellectual leadership and extensive knowledge of African development issues and policies. The session chaired by the Mr. Sufian Ahmed, the Ethiopian Minister for Finance and Economic Development and he was joined by Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the NEPAD Heads of State Implementation Committee and the African Peer Review Forum of Heads of State and Government, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, UN Undersecretary and Executive Secretary of ECA, Mr. Patrick Mazimhaka, Deputy Chairperson of AU Commission; a representative of AU Chairman, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Mustapha Mkulo and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs in Tanzania. Mr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank made his speech through a live video link from Tunis. During the session, the eminent African leaders presented an overview of the conference theme: Africa’s New Development Challenges.

The challenges highlighted included economic growth and its sustainability, capacity building in science and technology and regional integration. The conference included high level thematic debates on: Empowering the Poor; Climate Change and Development and HIV/AIDS. The conference ended on Wednesday April 2, 2008. The ADB delegation was led by Mr. Modibo Toure, Director of the Office of the President.

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