Tunis, 16 November 2005 – "We can only reach the Health Millennium Development Goals if the development partners concretize their mutual commitments as contained in the Paris Declaration", stated the President of the African Development Bank while chairing a session of the Third High Level Forum on the Health Millennium Development Goals on held in Paris on 14 and 15 November.
According to Mr. Kaberuka, the implementation of the Paris declaration could not be concretized without bolstering confidence between the development partners by both the donors and the beneficiaries.
The ADB President’s analyzed as follows: donors fear that the increase of assistance will dissuade African countries from actively mobilizing their internal resources; on their part, African countries hesitate to implement certain reforms due to the impredictability of resources. Therefore, it is necessary for both parties to implement a number of reforms within their mutual commitments framework, to consolidate the climate of confidence and accountability that should prevail among partners.
Therefore, African countries should take concrete measures to mobilize internal resources, ensuring that priority expenditures are allocated appropriately and good governance strengthened.
For their part, donors should translate the Paris Declaration into action, with long-term commitments from predictable and sustainable resources.
Furthermore, Mr. Kaberuka called for "greater proactiveness with regard to instruments". For instance, in order to improve the health situation, countries needed more doctors and other health workers. Training doctors with a view to attaining the MDG, remarked the ADB President, would take a decade. In the meantime, it would be necessary to undertake actions adapted to Africa that would rapidly increase the capacity of countries to provide basic health services (reduction of infant mortality, etc.).
Jointly organized by the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the French Government, participants in this forum included: Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, Philippe Douste-Blazy, French Minister of External Affairs, Lee Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization, Robert Greenhill, President of the Canadian International Development Agency, Firmino Mucavale, Executive Director of NEPAD, Richard Manning, President of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, Hilary Benn, British Secretary of State for International Development, among others.
On the sidelines of the meeting, the President held a series of high-level meetings with some of ADB’s development partners. He also held discussions with Hilary Benn, British Secretary of State for International Development in connection with monitoring the G.8 initiative to cancel the multilateral debt owed by African countries, the status of the African Infrastructure Consortium (whose secretariat the international community entrusted to the Bank) as well as the scope and ambition of the institutional reforms.
He also met with France Minister of Finance Thierry Breton, with whom he discussed issues of a common interest, including the cooperation opportunities between the ADB, France and the French Development Agencey (AFD). He also discussed these issues with Mrs. Brigitte Girardin, French Deputy Minister of Cooperation, and Mr. Jean-Marie Severino, General Director of the AFD.
Mr. Kaberuka also had the opportunity to address the French companies to which he emphasized the positive evolution of the business environment in Africa and the support the companies that trust the continent may get from the ADB. Thirty French companies were thus briefed on investment issues in Africa during a work meeting held at the premises of the French Confederation (Medef) and chaired by Mr. Alain Viry, vice-predident for Africa (Medef International).