Ladies and Gentlemen.
We express our gratitude to the Secretary General for his reports on NEPAD: progress in implementation and international support; causes of conflict and promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, and the Decade to roll back malaria in developing countries, particularly Africa. We also thank both traditional and new development partners for their support to NEPAD programs and projects.
As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of NEPAD this year, it is a reminder to us to strengthen governance structures and institutions, deepen democratic ethos, reform our investment climate and make it business friendly in order to increase our competitiveness. Enhancing the quality of our educational institutions, particularly higher education and making them practical is of outermost importance.
The African Group expects that there will be a renewed political commitment by our development partners to ensure meaningful support to Africa’s development needs programs and projects. The Group is of the opinion that an enabling international environment is indispensable. In this regard, I wish to state that our priorities are many but the most urgent ones include industrialization, infrastructural, agricultural and human capital development as well as market access and development of modern services sector.
Therefore, partnerships with both traditional and new development partners should seek to integrate Africa into the global economy through industrialization, diversification, infrastructural and human capital development. Furthermore, development orientation from export of primary products to manufactured or processed goods is urgent, and must be pursued.
Africa continues to be plagued by long term and, in some cases, interrelated crises including violent conflicts which have caused immense human suffering. In light of the serious implications of conflict on several aspects of the development of Africa, initiatives such as peace building to post conflict reconstruction and development have been launched. A central theme in the African Union/NEPAD agenda is the bringing together of the issues of peace and security, governance constitutionalism, economic development and international partnerships. African countries will continue to pay special attention to these matters.
Trade is an important tool for economic growth and development. However, Africa’s share of global trade remains negligible. Africa accounts for only 3% of world trade with a share in global manufactured exports close to zero. The Group has put in place measures aimed at increasing the volume of intra-regional trade. On the same note, Africa wants to improve its external trade with partners. However, the faltering process concluding the DOHA Round is impeding our market access to trade. In that regard we call on all parties to show flexibility and conclude the trade talks as a matter of urgency. Aid for trade should be further emphasized to improve our supply side constraints and enhance our participation in international trade.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
NEPAD recognizes the critical role of the private sector, both domestic and foreign owned, as the continent’s engine of economic growth. Foreign Direct Investment is therefore very important for Africa’s development needs. However, the FDI flow to the continent is still very low and targets traditional sectors. In this regard, the Group urges that FDI should also target labor intensive infrastructural development projects, transfer of knowledge and technology, the services sector (such as banking, insurance, and medical) and the industrial sectors (aeronautical, and automotive component, ICT, off-shoring food processing) etc.
We urge developing partners to take urgent collective actions to fulfill all their aid commitments to Africa as ODA contributes to economic growth. In this regard, the continent urges partners to fulfill their commitments of doubling ODA to Africa to support these programs. I also wish to point out that emphasis should shift from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness to better measure the impact of such resources.
With regard to the MDG’s, Africa has made some progress. However, the continent remains off-track in achieving some of the MDGs by 2015. Concerns remain with regard to quality education, infant and maternal health, mal-nutrition, safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Social protection programs and job creation are required to reduce poverty and contribute to the achievement to the MDG’s.
The NEPAD Agency's role as planning unit aims at facilitating and coordinating implementation of regional and continental programs, mobilization of resources for the implementation of Africa's priority programs and projects remain central. The role of the NEPAD Agency in conducting and coordinating research and knowledge management will create an enabling environment to achieve food security and agriculture development in the next five years.
In this regard, the African Group is looking forward to constructive engagements during the forthcoming informal consultations on the need to establish a monitoring mechanism to follow up on all commitments related to the development of Africa. With the mechanism in place, the Group hopes that the commitments by both African Governments and their development partners’ would be reviewed, possibly by beginning of 67th session of the General Assembly.
Malaria infects over 170 million Africans a year, crippling economic growth to the tune of at least 2% loss in GDP growth every year. The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Heads of State and Government are determined to remove this debilitating impediment to progress once and for all. As members of the African Union, Heads of State and Government pledged to end the scourge of malaria and, as members of ALMA, these efforts have the potential to bear fruit and save at least $12 billion USD per annum in direct costs, freeing up much needed resources for implementation and service delivery.
It is encouraging to know that, in high burden African countries that have achieved high coverage of their populations with insecticide-treated nets and treatment programs, recorded cases and deaths due to malaria have fallen by 50 per cent. This has greatly supported the achievement of MDG target 6 of reversing the incidents of malaria. In addition, the findings that the lives of more than 750 million children across 34 malaria-endemic African countries had been saved through vector control, have been most encouraging.
In conclusion, I wish to state that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20 summit to be held in June next year in Brazil constitutes an important opportunity to reaffirm and renew political commitment to implement the previous decisions and undertakings, in accordance with the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the relevant outcomes of the major conferences and summits on sustainable development. It must therefore aim to achieve substantive progress on the objectives and themes of the Conference. In this regard, the Group is committed to working with all partners and stakeholders to take forward the needed action to make the conference a success.
Accordingly, the continent is already holding consultative meetings in line with the Malabo Declaration adopted by Heads of State and Government of the African Union this last June. We will be working towards the formulation of a common position during the forthcoming Africa Regional Preparatory Conference on Rio+20 scheduled to be held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa later this October. The African Group wishes to reiterate that the objectives and themes of the conference are mutually supportive and must be pursued in a comprehensive and integrated manner.
I thank you.