According to the Information and Communication Service, the commitment came at the end of a two-day workshop that ended in Mombassa, Kenya on Friday 28 September 2012.
After two days of deliberations, some 40 experts from governments, development agencies and independent policy analysts determined that governments urgently need to fill existing institutional, human, financial and coordination gaps in order to render development planning more efficient.
Responding to that call, ECA’s representative at the workshop reiterated the Commission’s commitment to assist in the establishment of a network of development planners and to develop an electronic platform that will build capacity of development planners through knowledge and experience sharing.
The proposed Community of Practice Platform could be up and running as early as next month, Dr. Bartholomew Armah, Chief of the section in charge of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at ECA told the meeting.
“ECA will work on the finishing touches of the virtual platform such that it is ready for launch on 5 November 2012, as part of 50th Anniversary activities of the UN Institute for Development and Economic Planning (IDEP) in Dakar, Senegal”, he promised.
The virtual platform will be available online as part of the larger UNECA-hosted African Development Network (Afdev), he explained.
The workshop recommended that membership for the platform be open to everyone interested in development planning in Africa, although certain forums and discussions would be closed to high-level experts.
UNECA, through its Economic Development and NEPAD Division (EDND), supported the meeting, which brought together government officials, institutions and independent experts to analyze capacity gaps in development planning in Africa.
Although Africa’s development trajectory had been influenced in various degrees by development planning since the early stages of independence, the last decade witnessed an era marked by structural adjustment plans that laid greater emphasis on the free market system.
In recent years, there has been strategic refocusing on the role of the State in development planning in Africa, with a renewed interest in broader development plans that go beyond Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), according to Dr. Armah.
Indeed, many countries have adopted long-term development plans and frameworks with the objectives of growth and social development that have ambitious strategies and policies.
These development plans are often focused mostly on diverse objectives or development frameworks adopted at the global or continental level, such as the MDGs, with minimal consideration for the role of the State.
The Workshop found that multiple capacity gaps exist at the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation phases of these frameworks, namely institutional, human resource, financial and coordination gaps.
Community of Practice (CoP) will fill these gaps.
Source: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) – Press Release – 2 October 2012