Ambassador Vijay S. Makhan 
Assistant Secretary General OAU 

at the International Conference on Financing Development 

Monterrey, México 
18th March 2002

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:
•34 out of the 49 LDCs are in Africa.
•All but 7 of the 36 Countries in the low human development category of the 2001   UNDP Human Development Report are in the region.
•Up to 50% of the population live in absolute poverty - that is, on less than US$1 per day.
•The infant mortality rate is more than 100 per 1000 and the under 5 mortality rate is more than 170 per 1000; life expectancy at birth is less than   50 years.
•The rate of illiteracy is 41 percent for people over 15.
•Only about 58 percent of the population has access to safe water.
•There are only 18 mainline telephones per 1000 people (compared with 146 for the world as a whole and 567 for the developed countries).

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.
The magnitude of resource requirements is exemplified by the estimate of 7% of GDP per annum growth rate that is needed to attain the internationally agreed goal of reducing poverty by half by 2015.

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 flow of FDI to Africa must be significantly increased with the developed countries complementing the efforts which many African countries have undertaken in the creation of better environment for inflows.
• The declining trend of ODA resources must be halted and reversed. This Conference provides an opportunity for the developed countries to recommit themselves to attaining the agreed targets of 0.7% of GNP to developing countries and of 0.15 to 0.20% of GNP to the least developed countries.
•The external debt burden of African countries which has been a major constraint on development must be removed. The HIPC initiative, albeit welcomed, has proved inadequate to address this problem.
• Rapid integration of African economies into the global economy must be facilitated through enhanced market access.
• A more inclusive international financial and trading system with the full and effective participation of African countries in the decision making process; and finally
• Capacity Building, including institutional capacity building on a demand driven basis.

Mr. Chairman,
All of us are fully conversant with these issues. We hope that the Monterrey Consensus which is high on recognition of these concerns can be as equally high on commitment and concrete action.

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.
Thank you.

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