Her Excellency Ms. Mulu Ketsela
Minister of State of Finance and Economic Development, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

at the 
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico 
22nd March 2002

May I also join my colleagues in thanking the Mexican Government for hosting such a historic meeting. I would also like to express my appreciation to the United Nations for organizing such an important meeting in partnership with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

This is indeed an exceptional and promising accord. The Monterrey Consensus acknowledges the linkage between financing for development and attaining the goals and objectives set out by world leaders, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. 

The summit has reaffirmed that the partnership between developed and developing countries must be based on a firm and meaningful footing. The summit has provided an opportunity to review the progress made so far and reinforce the support of developed countries for the aspirations and efforts of developing economies.

In recent years, a handful of African countries have embraced a sectoral development programme approach, while many are moving towards this direction. An effective sectoral programme requires that donors streamline and harmonize their implementation procedures through establishing joint supervision and standardizing their reporting, financial management and procuring assistance. 

I believe that international conferences such as this one will enable donors to get serious about joining forces with recipient countries in their efforts to effectively manage foreign aid. They can do so by designing schemes appropriate for budget support for specific projects and move towards multi-year programming.

It has increasingly been recognized by many that to accelerate the pace of economic growth of developing economies, the relationship between donors and recipient countries has to be based on mutual trust and respect. As indicated in the draft outcome document, donors should support recipient countries to formulate their own development strategies and set up their priorities for implementing them.

We are greatly inspired by the emerging consensus reached by African leaders to play a decisive role in analyzing and fine-tuning the existing obstacles to Africa’s development by discerning the development needs of the continent as reflected in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). NEPAD aims to focus on poverty eradication, sustain economic growth and development, minimize the marginalization of Africa and achieve lasting peace, security and stability. NEPAD seeks to unequivocally redefine the partnership arrangements between developed and developing economies.

The declining trend in export earnings resulting mainly from the volatility of the international price of primary commodities and the sluggish trend in investment in export items has intensified the indebtedness of less-developed economies. Furthermore, developed countries have been applying non-tariff barriers against the products of developing economies by giving reasons such as lack of standards, dumping and countervailing duties.

During the past decade, official development assistance exhibited a continuous decline and an uncertain future, consequently triggering foreign exchange and fiscal constraints to be more binding in many less-developed economies. We are however encouraged by the recent decisions of the European Union and the United States to increase the present average percentage of official development assistance in relation to their gross national product. 

I have no doubt that the summit will help in influencing all developed countries to attain the internationally agreed minimum official development assistance average of 0.7 per cent of gross national product and to truly open their markets to the products of less-developed economies.

An assessment of the trend of Ethiopia’s debt over the last decade revealed that the debt owed to multilateral financial institutions compared to claims of other official bilateral and commercial creditors has considerably increased. As noted in the Monterrey Consensus, debt relief should strictly be additional to the net inflows already being received by the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs). Moreover, HIPCs will only attain the desired level of debt sustainability if, and only if, the terms of trade for primary commodities do not deteriorate on the international market. If on the other hand the terms of trade exhibit a declining trend countries have to wait for some additional years to see reduction in their debt services. 

Therefore, less developed countries will need to receive not only HIPCs debt relief, with maximum front, but also grants to help them reduce their indebtedness. To this effect international financial institutions and donors need to revisit and re-evaluate the existing debt-reduction mechanisms and prepare a better agenda for broader, deeper and faster debt relief.

Finally, we hope that we will find the resources required to implement these noble development goals incorporated in the Monterrey Consensus. 

* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.

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