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UN Conference on Financing for Development: AfDB President Urges International Community to Meet Commitments to Africa


Global leaders are meeting in Doha, Qatar, in a UN-organized conference that is scheduled to take place from November 29 to December 2 to review the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development and to discuss follow up actions. The final communiqué will be agreed on December 2 and is expected to be published at the end of the event.  It is expected to reaffirm commitments in all the main areas covered by the consensus, spanning domestic and international resource mobilization, the role of international trade and development aid, external debt and addressing systemic issues, and proposing a way forward. 

The Conference, which is being attended by many African leaders, the French president, and senior government officials from most UN member States, focused on Africa’s needs. Participants have called for Africa to be better represented in the G20 process as well as in wider international decision-making fora. 

A side event on African perspectives on the global financial and economic crisis, jointly-hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, the African Union (AU), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Africa Progress Panel yesterday which was hosted on December 1, 2008 brought together some senior officials of global bodies and governments.  Speaking during the event about the current crisis, AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, noted its likely impact on Africa, the various channels through which the effects will be transmitted. He highlighted that the financial crisis comes on top of the impact of escalating food and oil prices.  He emphasized the responsibilities of African countries to maintain their reform programmes, urging the international community to implement its commitments to increase support to the continent.  Mr. Kaberuka stressed the importance of Africa’s voice being heard in ongoing G20 discussions, urging that that the discussions should deal with the broader development agenda.

The South African Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, for his part, opened a meeting on reinforcing the need to implement the Accra Agreement in light of the crisis. He said that  the situation would be a real test of leadership in the region. The ECA Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh, for his part, described improvements in Africa’s economic performance since Monterrey as outlined in a recent ECA report. The Africa Progress Panel, drew attention to the composition of financial flows to Africa, underscoring that the flows were still not at the level required for sustained growth on the continent.

The AU Chairperson, Jean Ping, stressed that the current situation was not only a financial, but also an economic crisis which requires a global response. The former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said that Africa’s development needs should be recognized and represented in global debates. He commended progress made by the continent since Monterrey and reinforced the need to have a collective response to the challenges ahead.

Donors including the United Kingdom, the European Commission (EC), Germany and France reiterated their intentions to maintain their development aid commitments. Responses from African ministers focused on the need for Africa to promote more sustainable development, by taking action on domestic revenue mobilization, regional integration and south-south co-operation, as well as building up infrastructure and their capacity to trade competitively.

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