SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PANEL URGES GREATER, MORE CONSISTENT
INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR
Emeka Anyaoku of
, the Chair of a special advisory panel on international support for Nigeria Africa, today submitted the panel’s recommendations to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
After nearly a year of investigation and deliberations, the 13-member panel of eminent African and international figures concluded that Africa deserves and requires more external support to ensure the success of its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the continental development plan adopted by African leaders four years ago. Not only do developed countries need to increase their support in such diverse areas as aid, debt relief, market access and capital flows, argues the panel, they also must ensure that such backing is coordinated and that progress in one area is not counteracted by shortfalls in another.
The report of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Panel on International Support for the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development, which was appointed in July 2004, carries a twofold central message, says Chief Anyaoku. The first is that “NEPAD cannot succeed without a significant increase in support from the international community” The second is that “unleashing Africa’s potential for development requires harnessing the creativity and dynamism of private initiative in a range of areas, including agriculture, industry, science and technology, and infrastructure development.” While African countries themselves have major obligations to increase investments in those areas, targeted international aid and other forms of support can also be of great help.
Success, Chief Anyaoku adds, cannot be measured by the number of consultations, meetings and plans alone, but by concrete outcomes. “People’s lives must change”, he says. “International support must yield results-based action that unleashes
Africa’s human potential and the economic potential of the formal and informal private sector.”
Africaand the international community had previous development strategies for the continent, but “none of them lived up to the promises made”, the report observes. It adds, however, that a “new opportunity” now exists with NEPAD. Today, most African leaders are democratically elected, more than two dozen governments have agreed to have their governance policies scrutinized under NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism, there is greater consensus within the development community on what needs to be done and foreign assistance has focused to an increasing extent on countries pursuing good policies.
After consulting with a wide range of prominent figures from African countries, donor agencies and multilateral institutions, the panel is recommending a number of key external actions that would be most effective and useful in advancing the priorities of NEPAD and helping
Africamake progress towards the world community’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Those recommendations include: greater and more focused aid; wider debt relief; freeing trade for Africa’s benefit; enhanced private capital flows; and better external coordination.
Greater and More Focused Aid
The panel “fully endorses” recent calls by the Group of Eight industrialized countries, the United Nations Millennium Project team, the United Kingdom’s Commission on Africa and others for a substantial increase in overall flows of development aid, with at least half of that assistance channelled to sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, donor aid should be targeted at African countries with good policy environments. Donor agencies should better coordinate their interventions, align them with poverty-reduction strategies, provide a significantly greater percentage of aid in the form of grants and make sustained commitments on a multi-year basis.
Wider Debt Relief
Since the debt-servicing payments of poor African countries remain far too high and existing debt-relief mechanisms have not solved the problem, the panel recommends 100 per cent debt cancellation for all low-income countries in
Africa, including for countries not currently eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In addition, it calls for “significant relief” for middle-income countries that are heavily in debt. More care must also be taken that the money saved from such relief is used by African countries to advance the development objectives enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals.
Freeing Trade for
The panel recognizes that the freeing of trade can play an important role in
Africa’s development, and both African nations and their trade partners need to do more. African countries that are net exporters of agricultural goods would benefit from reductions of domestic agricultural subsidies in the European Union and . But net importers could be harmed in the short term and would require assistance to help them adjust. Meanwhile, the international community should allocate more aid to build up United States Africa’s infrastructure, to help stimulate trade and exports.
Enhanced Private Capital Flows
Africaneeds more private capital flows, the panel observes, citing one of the objectives of NEPAD. Developed countries should promote policies that encourage more flows of foreign direct investment and private remittances to Africa, suggests the panel. African countries themselves also need to do more to improve their investment climates, and both developed countries and multilateral agencies can help by providing technical and financial assistance for those efforts.
Better External Coordination
The panel notes that the problems of lack of coordination that plague bilateral aid agencies “also tend to afflict the operations of the UN system in
Africa”. It, therefore, calls on the various components of the UN system to make greater efforts to work together to provide focused and coordinated support to NEPAD. Towards that end, says Chief Anyaoku, the role of the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) should be expanded. The panel further argues that the UN and the African Union need to act in greater partnership to improve monitoring of international pledges and aid disbursements to Africa.
The panel itself intends to prepare a supplementary report in early 2006 to assess progress in international support for
Africa’s development, by looking specifically at the outcomes of upcoming international summit meetings, including the Group of Eight, European Union and the Millennium Development Goals review summit of the UN General Assembly.
The members of the panel are: Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria, International President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations in Nigeria (Chairman); Jagdish Bhagwati of India, Professor at Columbia University and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; Kwesi Botchwey of Ghana, Executive Chairman of the African Development Policy Ownership Initiative; Michel Camdessus of France, President of the Centre for International Prospective Studies, Special Representative of the President of France for Africa ; Fantu Cheru of Ethiopia, teaches African and Development Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.; Ricardo Hausmann of Venezuela, Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; Richard Jolly of the United Kingdom, Research Associate at the Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom and Senior Research Fellow at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Anne Kristin Sydnes, former Minister of Development Cooperation of Norway; Carol Lancaster of the United States, Professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development; Masaki Miyaji of Japan, Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Corporation; Julienne Ngo Som, Chief Research Officer and Director of Scientific Information and Technological Development at the Ministry of Scientific & Technical Research, Cameroon; Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Executive Chairman of Millennium Consolidated Investment (MCI); and Ismail Serageldin of Egypt, Director, Library of Alexandria and Distinguished Professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
For more information contact: Mr. Eloho Otobo, Office of the Special Adviser on
Africa, tel.: 1 212 963-5006, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mr. Ernest Harsch, Africa Section, Dept. of Public Information, tel.: 1 212 963-4513, e-mail: email@example.com.
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