His Excellency Mr. Donald Kaberuka
This Conference, culminating in what is now called the Monterrey Consensus, has provided us the opportunity to discuss comprehensively the issues of financing for development, the mobilization of resources required to deliver the needed historically rather high rates of growth in excess of seven per cent, which many of our countries will require in order to attain the Millennium Development Goals.
This Conference is a welcome departure from previous discussions on financing that have been piecemeal and issue-by-issue; sometimes they dissuaded us from focusing on the essential element, the overall financing problem. This Conference has provided us with the opportunity to pose these questions: Do we need more of the same? Is this business as usual or is it a paradigm shift?
My delegation believes that we must draw lessons from the last 30 to 40 years of grappling with issues of development and poverty. We must look at the failures, the frustrations and, yes indeed, the occasional victories and successes. Discussions about new types of partnership are needed. An examination of delivery mechanisms is as much needed as is the overall resources level, which has been the major focus this week.
We are encouraged by what we have heard this week. By this, I mean the increased pledges of resources and renewed commitments to make aid more effective. Aid does work, but it is only a small part of what is needed to attain the Millennium Goals. Even if additional resources are raised, this on its own will not be sufficient, unless the lessons of the past are taken into account. Aid effectiveness in the past has been diluted by a number of factors. Among these are paternalism and emasculation of the involvement of recipient countries via a complex system of conditionalities that have undermined ownership of the development agenda in our countries, inconsistencies in policies of donor countries, such as giving aid to promote exports, while at the same time limiting market access, and tying aid, thereby reducing its allocative efficiency. Also, bureaucratic forms of aid administration have strained the capacities of recipient countries, making the fact of receiving aid a very onerous process in itself.
Thus, an interaction of three factors has been decisive in reducing the effectiveness of aid. The first of these is an external aid-determined agenda which has driven aid programmes. The second, at least some of the time, is a set of non-conducive policies – political, economic and environmental – that have undermined the efficient use of all resources, be they local or external. Thirdly, by not looking at ODA as a component of a greater resource problem, encompassing ODA itself, market access, domestic resource mobilization and investment, both local and external, we have concentrated on simply a small part of the picture, thereby not adequately addressing the other components of the resource problem to synergize the aid resources.
Aid is very important for many of our countries, but there is not one country in the world that has eliminated poverty through aid alone. Countries have diminished poverty by fully participating in world trade and investment. Aid has played a catalytic, although not decisive, role. It is evidently clear that, for many developing countries present here today, including Rwanda, significant aid resources will continue to be needed. We, along with other developing countries, are prepared to play our part in ensuring that aid is used effectively to enable us to “grow out of aid”. Nonetheless, our voice in the international economic decision-making process must be heard. Too often we, the principal stakeholders, have not been adequately listened to. I hope that Monterrey begins to change this situation.
As the President of the World Bank reminded us this morning, fighting poverty is a long-term challenge. There is no magic solution, but there are many levers within our grasp in this task. A new compact between poor and wealthy countries is needed. That said, provided the conditions are right, the international community will provide the resources in a flexible, predictable mechanism for this long-term challenge. We are not looking for short-term fixes based on the facts of the day; we are looking for long-term commitment and long-term partnership. It is not the North versus the South; it is all of us together.
Such a compact is articulated in The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). My country is fully committed to this exciting, home-grown African initiative. We Africans are prepared to take charge of our future. This includes reduced costs and minimized risks of doing business in Africa, for both Africans and foreign investors. We are aware of the challenges. For one, even if reality changes on the ground, negative perceptions about our continent will remain hard to dispel. Resources, both local and foreign, will remain limited. Therefore, we will look towards partnership based on two principles. The first principle is that developing countries of Africa should take charge of their future. Secondly, the international community should provide environmental support in the form of additional resources and market access.
Provided we are connected in this system of mutual accountability, Millennium Goals can be met. They can be met if conditionalities are replaced by ownership, if inconsistency in policies are removed both in donor and recipient countries, if the costs of giving and receiving aid are reduced and if the voices of poor countries are effectively taken into account in international forums.
We are encouraged by what has transpired this week. We find the Monterrey Consensus a major advance. It falls short in some of the areas to which I have just alluded; nonetheless, if we manage to turn this Consensus into an operational plan on which basis all of us can measure progress, Monterrey will go down as the beginning of this task towards the Millennium Development Goals.
My country stands ready, along with other nations here, to play its part.
* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.