The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopes, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 11 and 12, 2013 to discuss the challenges, opportunities and priorities facing Africa over the next 50 years, and how best to coordinate efforts in supporting the continent’s socio-economic transformation. The meeting concluded with a joint communiqué that seeks to strengthen their commitment to support the vision of Africa’s leaders to transform the continent over the next 50 years.
The meeting took place against the background of ongoing preparations towards the May 2012 commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Organization for African Unity – now transformed into the African Union. Through their respective comparative advantage and their distinct roles and responsibilities, the tripartite partnership reaffirmed their commitment to support the vision of Africa’s leaders “to transform the continent over the next 50 years and collaborate closely with Regional Economic Communities and other partners to foster the agenda of an integrated and prosperous continent,” according to the communiqué.
They stated the need to reaffirm the spirit of Pan Africanism and African solidarity that inspired the political evolution of the continent in the last 50 years, which they underscored as “now critical for realizing Africa’s socio-economic transformation.”
The meeting noted that key challenges, opportunities and priorities face Africa; and that much progress has been made in several areas, including peace and security, good governance, economic growth, regional integration and attracting investments.
While acknowledging the progress made, they stressed that Africa’s economic growth needs to focus on equity, inclusiveness, the preservation of natural capital and creation of decent jobs, especially for the youth and women.
Furthermore, despite the continent’s resilience in the face of the recent global financial and economic crises, further action with all relevant stakeholders to enhance Africa’s economic independence, reduce vulnerability and diversify its relations within the global economy was needed.
“We firmly believe the time is ripe for a paradigm shift and a change in mindset towards realizing the vision of a continent that is integrated, prosperous and peaceful, and a dynamic force in the global arena,” states the communiqué.
They emphasized that Africa’s challenge is economic transformation, “whose agenda should be led by Africans.” Towards this objective, the three heads committed to “explore all avenues for mobilizing sources of finance, including tapping into Africa’s own resources and global financial opportunities.”
While acknowledging that external partners have contributed to Africa’s progress through instruments such as the African Development Fund (ADF) and to which they will remain committed, the three heads agreed to actively explore Africa’s participation in these financial mechanisms.
They concluded with an agreement “to engage with Africa’s leaders and peoples in articulating and preparing such an African led transformation agenda for the next 50 years.” In this regard, the three institutions will pursue the issue further in the upcoming African Union meetings and through consultations with Regional Economic Communities, Partners and other stakeholders with a view “to realize the vision of the African Renaissance.”
Source: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) – Press release – 14 January 2013