At meeting of African development partners, UN official urges long-term view

ECA Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh, opens first Partners Forum in Addis Ababa

13 March 2008 – The head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), kicking off a series of forums meant to boost dialogue with donors and other partners, said that economic growth on the continent must be pursued in the context of a long-term development.

“Efforts to continue improving economic and political conditions in the continent must be assessed against the goal of long-term development and structural transformation,” ECA Executive Secretary Abdoulie Janneh said as he opened the first Partners Forum of 2008 at ECA headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The six monthly forums are linked to the efforts of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to highlight challenges facing Africa in its effort to develop new, sound economies through his Africa Working Group on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of time-bound targets to slash extreme poverty and other global ills.

In his opening address, Mr. Janneh said the response to current challenges, including a recession in key industrial countries and high international oil and food prices, must also take the long-term perspective.

“The cumulative impact of these challenges could compound efforts to scale-up and sustain growth and extend its benefits to socially excluded groups including women and children,” he said.

The ECA Partners’ Forum continues today with technical discussions of development topics that are scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

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