Busan 2011: Africa asks development partners to fulfil outstanding promises

African countries attending the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, have asked development partner countries to fulfil outstanding promises made to the continent in earlier fora.

The delegates from Africa, listed some of the promises not made good as yet, as: making aid flows predictable, untied from onerous conditions and requirements to purchase development partner goods and services, and delivered in a coordinated way, aligned with country systems and processes.

Attending the Busan consultations are over 3,000 policy-makers, academia and stakeholders from African countries and regional institutions as well as development partners, towards a common front in shifting the paradigm from Aid Effectiveness (AE) to Development Effectiveness (DE).

According to a press statement issued by the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, the African stakeholders’ message to Busan is that “although Aid is one of the sources for financing Africa’s development, it requires to be placed in the broader context of development, to support capacity development and domestic resources mobilisation for productive sector growth and the real economy.”

In view of this, and to ensure that the process is inclusive, three regional platforms and consultations under the framework of APDev (African Platform for Development Effectiveness) were held,  which resulted in the adoption of the “Pretoria Outcomes”, “Tunis Consensus on Development Effectiveness’’ and the ‘’Addis Ababa Statement.”

While these milestone processes have contributed to shaping the African Position while underscoring the Beyond Aid agenda, three countries; Rwanda, Mali and South Africa, have been identified to negotiate on behalf of the whole African continent, to ensure that the outcomes of the HLF-4 are in line with the continent‘s needs and priorities.

It is envisaged that such a result will also ensure the necessary legitimacy, ownership, leadership and overall relevance of the Busan Outcomes to Africa’s development.

Commenting on the High Level Meeting, NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, said, “Busan is a milestone for Africa” because “for the first time, Africa will have a strong coordinated voice in the Aid reform process, through a common position developed through a two-year comprehensive engagement with African stakeholders”.

In a bid to overcome Africa’s Aid burden, Africa’s delegates to the forum are also defending four principles, which are that Africa will take full responsibility for the  continent’s development and ensure that partners cannot use Busan to renege on the long-standing commitments to deliver aid better.

Others are that Africa will impress on development partners that while attending to the unfinished aid agenda, they must align to Africa’s vision and priorities of Development Effectiveness, as well as actively participate in the framing of the global architecture and the related monitoring framework, in shaping the continent’s own partnerships and development.

For its part, NEPAD states that the global development cooperation dialogue should shift focus from Aid to the broader context of Development Effectiveness for inclusivity, equity, gender equality, environmental sustainability and better development results.

“In this view, it is imperative for African countries, regional organisations and development partners to find innovative ways to direct Aid towards Africa’s real economy and developing capacity for domestic resource mobilisation, while ensuring the full involvement and participation of an empowered private sector and fostering both national regional value-chains.  Capacity Development must be at the heart of all development initiatives, whether from our traditional northern partners, our emerging partners in the South or own policies. This is the message for and beyond Busan to achieve development effectiveness,” the Agency maintains.

Meanwhile, co-organisers of the forum with the South Korean Government, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) latest monitoring report, shows that Africa has done well on its obligations to honour aid effectiveness commitments from Paris and Accra.

OECD believes Africa must keep up the momentum in the broader context of development, by deepening its collaboration with traditional partners, while reinforcing South-South cooperation and strengthening capacity development.

Over the last decade, aid policy debates have increasingly centred on how to make aid more effective and global frameworks such as the Paris Declaration (PD) and the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), captured the importance of partnerships in the management of aid.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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