Riding back to my hotel after Day 2 of the Financing for Development Conference, my mind was racing over a conversation I just had with the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopes.
Mr. Lopes said he was happy with how the conference was going, and that Africa has so far obtained most of what it wanted, although there were a few sticking points. He explained how “we were living a special moment by virtue of the conversation taking place in Africa.” He explained that before it was about how the developed countries helped the others, but now the world is saying "we are on this boat together” because sustainable development goals are universal.
But before I left the room, I felt compelled to ask what this conference meant for the ordinary citizen or “man on the street.” He warned that the conference was not about putting money on the table, but about defining a framework for the future. And the upside to this is that Africa is now seen as a serious participant in the framing of the global debate.