MAURITANIA

Statement

by

H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ould Nany
Minister of Economic Affairs and Development

at the 
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico 
21st March 2002



In speaking to this group, I first of all would like to thank the United Nations and the Mexican government for their excellent organization of this international conference on financing for development and for the invitation given to our country to participate in it.

I would also like to convey the greetings of the President of the Republic, Mr. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya and his wishes for full success in these deliberations. 

The conference, which brings us together today, is a unique opportunity to measure the state of implementation of the undertakings of September 2000 of the Millennium Summit and to strive to mobilize the resources necessary to make them a reality.

The objective of a 50% reduction by 2015 of extreme poverty is historic and will require an effort of solidarity, which is unprecedented in the international community.

The success of the conference on Financing for Development depends on our ability to find solutions which are appropriate in areas such as Official Development Assistance (ODA), the sustainability of foreign debt, the mainstreaming of developing countriesí international trade, and the reduction of the widening technological gap between the industrialize and developing countries which we call the digital divide.

Concerning ODA, it must be greatly increased in the next few years to guarantee that the developing countries will have concessional resources that are compatible with the objective of poverty reduction by 2015.  The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) say we need 54 billion US-Dollars per year, which would imply a doubling  of the amounts given by the member countries of the CAAD moving to 0.45 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 0.22 per cent.

It is a concern to us to note that public aid given to developing countries has actually declined by 22% in real terms between 1991 Ė 2000 and this reduction has mainly impacted Sub-Saharan Africa where the proportion has fallen from 37.2 per cent to 22.2 per cent in the 1990ís. To reverse this trend is an essential thing to do.

Therefore I would like to talk about the American governmentís initiative to increase by 5 billion US-Dollars the ODA over the next 3 years and the decision made by the European Union (EU) at the last summit in Barcelona to bring up to 0.39 per cent of the GDP the aid that they give to developing countries.

We noted with great interest the proposal of the US president to increase the proportion of grants in the operations of the multilateral banks.  This proposal gives pride of place to financing aid which is not reimbursable in form of grants for education projects, for heath, drinking water and which will help reduce poverty and improve the condition of the poorest countries.  

We are of the opinion that these proposals should be seriously considered and a compromise must be found for us to conclude the discussion in having resources from AID and African development fund to help the poorest countries in particular Sub-Saharan African countries.

Mr. President the debt burden is a major obstacle to the efforts made for sustainable development and poverty reduction. The initiative upscale for the poor countries, HIPCs is a major advance in solving this problem and will help make our debts loads more sustainable according to our economic indicators.  This initiative must be consolidated and the foreign debts of the poorest countries, their situations must be followed carefully to  prevent a slide of the efforts that we made to eradicate poverty and improve the living conditions of our people.

For international trade this can be a potent factor for development as long as we improve access for developing countries to the markets of  developed countries and to eliminate the tariff and non-tariff barriers and eliminate subsidies which impede exports.

The agreement reached recently at 4th ministerial conference in Doha in November 2001 could be an opportunity to improve this trade situation in a substantial way.  The objective must be to have a new cycle of development in order to stimulate progress on the world scale to help industrialized and developing countries.

In terms of the digital divide and the technological gap, the international community must help developing countries improve access to new information and communication  technology to encourage a better spread of knowledge and to help implement and promote conditions which will increase the foreign investment (FI) flows .

Mr. President, the NEPAD, which was launched in October 2001 is a framework for cooperation which is adequate for Africa and its partners. In this initiative, the African countries will bring the necessary conditions to act together at all levels to implement programmes and improve the conditions of their people.  We hope that these partners will help us in this initiative, which will be useful for the confidence of the people.

In recognizing the importance of multifaceted support of the donor countries and the international agencies representing the conference development of our countries in improving our living conditions is just as much our responsibility and our duty.

Therefore, with determination and rigor, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania has worked since the mid 80ís under the wise leadership of its president, Mr. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, in developing and implementing an ambitious developmental strategy based on more political freedoms, improving sustainable human development indicators, bolstering the role of the private sector as an engine in income generation and in complying with the rules of good governance.

The reforms instituted in the last 15 years have allowed us to restore economic balance inside and out, to spur economic growth which has been 4.6 per cent from 1992- 2000 to bring down inflation and improve social indicators such as   education, health, drinking water, literacy and to reduce poverty which has declined to from 56 per cent in 1990 to 46 per cent in 2000.

We  are  determined to take up the challenges of development such as poverty.  The conference, which brings us together today, has been followed with much interest in our country.  Itís essential that we make recommendations which are pertinent so we can reassure our people as to the will of and the commitment of the international community to help the developing countries in their efforts to get out of the cycle of underdevelopment as well as instituting conditions for a true program of economic promotion and development and a social program which will help us fight poverty.  The Monterrey Consensus has conclusions and decisions,  which constitute in our view a coherent and integrated   process regarding Financing for Development.  The document shows the importance of mobilizing national financial resources, the role of the FI flows, the private sector, the world international trade in stimulating growth and development, the strengthening of ODA, as well as the consistency of monetary financial and international commercial systems.

The document reaffirms the commitment of international communities to support the efforts of developing countries to realize the objectives contained in the Millennium Declaration and other world summits.  

Itís an important innovation.  The document calls for establishing a mechanism to follow-up on the decisions of the conference, which will be measured at regular intervals to see that agreed undertakings are respected in the hope that these proposals will be important and effective in the challenges we face together. I would like to wish great success to our deliberations in this conference.


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

Statements at the Conference
Conference News