Ambassador Vijay S. Makhan
at the International Conference on Financing Development
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Ministers Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I bring to this Conference the greetings of Africa"s premier institution:
the Organization of African Unity. Let me at the risk of sounding extremely
negative underscore a few truisms about my Continent, Africa:
But perhaps the most graphic manifestation of the worsening poverty situation in Africa is the growing ravages of deadly diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis, which are again on the increase but specially HIV/AIDS. Of the 36 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 1999, over 25 million were in Africa. In the year 2000, the region recorded almost 2.5 million HIV/AIDS related deaths.
At the dawn of the new millennium, the greatest challenge facing Africa is the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development. It is against the background of such stark reality that Africa expects so much from this Conference and hopes that it would not go the way of previous international efforts that promised so much but in the end offered so little, that the impact on African development remained insignificant.
The deepening crisis of development in Africa is paradoxically occurring in a period of rising global prosperity that has been fostered by rapid developments in information technology and increasing flows of trade and capital. Africa has to a large extent been excluded from the benefits of globalization although not from its risks and pains. The global economic system can only be sustainable if it becomes more inclusive and equitable by addressing the problems and concerns of the weaker members. This Conference on Financing for Development offers a unique opportunity for doing this.
Putting in place adequate measures for speedy attainment of internationally agreed goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration is necessary for the emergence of a more equitable and sustainable world economic order.
I wish to suggest that removing obstacles to poverty eradication in the contemporary African context requires concerted actions by Africans themselves and their development partners. What we need is an effective and an efficient partnership based on mutual trust and mutual accountability, a partnership predicated on honesty in relationship!
Mr. Chairman, a good policy environment has been put in place in most countries of the region, thanks to economic reforms and improvements in the structures of governance - reforms undertaken at great social and political costs to our people. To emphasize their determination to continue to implement these reforms, African leaders at the Summit meeting of OAU held in July 2001 in Lusaka adopted - the New Partnership for Africa"s Development (NEPAD). At the same Summit, the African Union (AU) was launched as the successor to the OAU - the first Summit of the AU is scheduled to take place in July this year in South Africa.
The AU aims, among other objectives, to accelerate the process of economic integration among African countries and to facilitate the integration of the Continent into the wider global economy.
The paradox however is that African efforts have not been sufficiently complemented by the international community. For example the flows of ODA and FDI have declined in the last two decades when countries in the Continent needed them most.
That is why we welcome the Monterrey Conference in the hope that it
would offer a framework for increased financial flows to Africa.
Let me flag some of the issues which I believe this Conference must
adequately address to generate the resources which African countries need
for the promotion of sustainable development and attainment of millennium
development goals - issues which are of common knowledge to all those concerned
and indeed are readily acknowledged:
The OAU Council of Ministers which concluded its 75th Ordinary Session
on Friday 15 March 2002 in Addis Ababa, appeals to this Conference to move
in that direction.
Statements at the Conference