Annual Briefing to United Nations Member States and Entities (15 October 2015)

Reports of the Secretary-General, Discussions by the Economic Commision for Africa (ECA), and Presentations by the NEPAD Agency and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

On Thursday, 15 October 2015, H.E. Mr. Téte António, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, and Ms. Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, co-chaired the annual briefing to Member States and UN System entities.

H.E. Mr. Téte António, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, opened the session by  extending  his warm welcome to all those that had participated in this year’s very engaging Africa Week. Following, his introductory remarks, Mr. Maged Abdelaziz, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, presented the two reports of the UN Secretary-General:

Mr. Maged Abdelaziz highlighted the significant contribution that the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has made to Africa’s economic and social development which provides a strong foundation for the implementation of the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the United Nations' Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. He also shed light on some of the key obstacles to advancing the NEPAD’s implementation, particularly the lack of adequate financing and weak institutional capacity in some African countries, underscoring the need for an enhanced engagement from Africa’s development partners including the UN system to support progress on the continental and global development agendas.

Mr. Abdelaziz also outlined the main developments in peace, security and development over the period covered by the second report, “Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.” He highlighted the efforts of African governments, regional and sub-regional organizations to improve governance prevent and resolve conflicts, and combat terrorism and violent extremism, while underlining continued efforts to further prevent and mitigate election related-violence within the framework of improved management of electoral processes.

Mr. Abdelaziz concluded his comments by outlining the report findings in terms of the key challenges to improving governance in Africa, which are:

  • preventing and managing electoral violence;
  • human rights and protection of vulnerable populations;
  • insecurity and marginalization of societies;
  • limited capacity of democratic institutions;
  • governments’ relations with civil society; and
  • coordination and harmonization challenges.

Ms. Christina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, warmly welcomed all the meeting participants after which she invited H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and Interim Chief Executive Officer of the African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat, to make the first presentation of the second part of the session.

H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki began his presentation with an illustration of the turmoil the region has faced from 2000-2015. Yet, in spite that turmoil, Dr. Mayaki noted Africa posted positive gains, decreased poverty and increased its middle class. Dr. Mayaki stressed that the region now has taken ownership of its own development agenda as part of the Africa’s Agenda 2063, which further reinforced his key message throughout this year’s Africa Week, that "Africa’s house is now in order."

Mr. Mayaki also noted that Africa’s tax burden is among the lowest in the world and that a 1 per cent increase in tax collection in the region will result in approximately USD 20 billion/annum increase to the region’s revenue stream. In addition, Dr. Mayaki pointed out the illicit flows of funds from the region, largely due to lack of collection of taxes from international cooperation’s could contribute an additional USD 50 billion/annum.  These revenue streams and others he illustrated stand to finance the totality of Africa’s Agenda 2063, if captured.

Dr. Mustapha Mekideche, the Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), focused on the APRM’s ability to support African countries towards fulfilling the objectives of Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030 in his presentation. In particular, Dr. Mekideche highlighted the key values of inclusiveness and participation that are at the heart of the national review processes which includes the establishment of a national commission of governance at the beginning of the review process. Dr. Mekideche concluded his presentation by recognizing and thanking the financial and technical support of APRM’s strategic partners, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and he called for strengthened engagement and support from African institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB).

After the very informative presentations, a robust interaction followed with remarks by Member States, representatives of various institutions and bodies, including the ECA, the AfDB, NEPAD, APRM, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs), as well as representatives of the African Union’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations.

The interventions made largely focused on issues related to peace and security and on domestic resource mobilization. A number of salient points emerged in relation to these two topics. In the case of peace and security, delegates from Member States re-iterated their support for the initiative “Silencing the Guns” in the continent by 2020, and, in this regard, they are fully supportive of enhanced coordination between the RECs and the United Nations.

A number of comments were also made on the need for additional resources for the African security architecture, in particular the Rapid Response Force and the Standing Brigade of the African Union.

Interventions made in reference to domestic resource mobilization were equally engaging and rich. It was noted that capacites are now present in the region to increase fiscal pressure by the proposed 1 per cent which will in turn generate revenues for that will exceed the current ODA flows. Participants also stressed the importance of capturing a majority of the illicit flows of funds from the region, in particular from multi-national cooperation’s lack of paying taxes which accounts for approximately 75 per cent of these flows.