African countries asked to develop capacity for economic transformation

Mr. Abdulie Janneh

African countries have been asked to develop the needed capacity for the continent’s transformation process as the continent’s economic, finance and planning experts meet in Addis Ababa.

Addressing the opening of the experts meeting preceding the 5th Joint Annual Meetings of the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development March 22, 2012, Mr. Abdulie Janneh, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) reminded the experts that for Africa to jumpstart its development and become a global development pole, “it must rise to meet its domestic, regional and global challenges and undertake carefully calibrated policy responses and actions”.

The conference is under the theme, “Unleashing Africa’s Potential as a Pole of Global Growth.”

According to Janneh, the “overview of economic and social conditions” shows that overall growth in the continent was 2.7% in 2011, down from nearly 4.6% in 2010.

He however, explained that with the political upheavals in North Africa and in spite of draught and associated challenges, the rest of the continent registered a respectable growth level of about the same as in the previous year.

This, he said, could be attributed to increasing domestic demand, good economic management, in addition to high and rising commodity prices but warned that the region needs to improve on its governance structures.

“The experience of North Africa goes to show that these factors are not enough and that improved governance remains central to economic and social transformation,” he said.

Mr. Janneh also noted that the Eurozone crisis could have some adverse effects on the continent. “African countries have very close trade, monetary, aid, and investment ties with Europe and will certainly be negatively affected by further deterioration of conditions in the Eurozone,” but argued that Africa provides an opportunity for global development.

“In spite of these well known facts, it is evident that given its improved prospects and the extent of its untapped potentials, Africa provides an opportunity for the world as a place where investments can be made to boost demand and help reduce global imbalances”, he said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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