UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
Africa: Regional Executives Statement
Date distributed (ymd): 980209
Document reposted by APIC
Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +security/peace+
This posting contains the text of the Joint Statement made by the Chief Executives of the Organisation for African Unity, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and African Development Bank at the end of their meeting in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire, on 23 January 1998.
JOINT STATEMENT OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVES OF THE OAU, ECA AND ADB
1. We, the Chief Executives of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the African Development Bank (ADB), met in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on 23 January, 1998, for our 8th Consultative Meeting. We set out below our views on recent developments in the region, and also indicate the measures we believe our countries should consider to assure the economic and social development of the people of Africa in peace and stability.
2. In reviewing the political, social, and economic progress in the region in the last few years, we note, with satisfaction, the strong commitment to political stability, pluralism, and democracy by an increasing number of countries. Nonetheless, we are concerned by the continued instability and conflict in some of our countries and their cost in human and material terms, as well as their adverse impact on economic and social progress. We are, however, heartened by the efforts being made by African leaders to take action to find African solutions to the various conflicts in the region. We are also greatly encouraged by the role that the institutions of civil society are playing.
3. We wish, in this connection, to underscore the need to take measures to avoid the recurrence of conflicts, provide humanitarian assistance, and mobilize resources for post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation. This is, in particular, the case with the Great Lakes Region. We wish to emphasize here the importance of adequate support by the international donor community to help this region, as well as other regions emerging from periods of severe strife and conflict.With a view to coordinating our efforts, and bringing to the attention of the international community the need for action in this area, we have decided to establish a committeeto recommend practical measures for our consideration.
4. Sustaining the political, economic, and social progress that our countries have made calls for promoting the practice of good governance. We are, in this respect, encouraged by the increasing commitment in the region to this goal. We, nonetheless, urge our countries to continue to promote good governance, uphold the rule of law, and fight the scourge of corruption, as an integral part of their efforts to promote socio-economic progress in the continent.
Economic and Social Trends
5. We are pleased to note that, in comparison to the first half of this decade, the economic performance of a large number of African countries has, in the past few years, been quite encouraging.While in part underpinned by a favourable external environment, the progress being made is, nonetheless, mainly a reflection of the major economic reforms undertaken by a large number of countries. We urge our countries to deepen and sustain these reforms, as difficult as they sometimes are.
6. We also urge our countries to pursue policies to accelerate economic growth, as this is essential to improve the social conditions of the large number of Africans who live in absolute poverty. In this regard, our countries will also need to create an environment conducive to private sector development, as well as for attracting foreign capital flows, which still account for less than two percent of global flows.
7. An issue of great concern to our three institutions is the external debt of African countries, which is hampering their growth. This is estimated to have reached $315 billion in 1997, with the debt service of countries accounting, on average, for a quarter of export earnings. We are encouraged by the start in the implementation of various debt-reduction initiatives, including the Highly Indebted Poor Countries' Initiative (HIPC) -- a joint initiative of the Bretton Woods Institutions, the African Development Bank (ADB), and bilateral donors -- as well as the Special Financing Mechanism (SFM) of the ADB. Nonetheless, we urge the international community to adopt a more flexible stance, and to consider additional initiatives, as well as ensure that adequate resources are made available to resolve the debt problem of African countries.
8. With respect to regional co-operation and integration, we note the encouraging steps recently taken by countries and sub-regions. Nonetheless, much needs to be done to make this goal a reality. Accordingly, we have renewed our commitment to jointly work together to assist our countries in the rationalization of the activities of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the harmonization of policies at the regional level, the mobilization of resource for regional integration, and the promotion of a greater role for the private sector. We have also decided to establish a joint working group to coordinate the activities of the three institutions in this area.
9. And in the light of the important role of air transport (and the transport and telecommunication infrastructures in general) to regional integration efforts, we have agreed to sensitize our governments on the importance of taking various measures to bring about a reform of the industry and to develop safe, accessible and affordable air service. There is also a need to gradually liberalize traffic rights within Africa and to promote cooperation in the air transport industry. With a view to achieving this goal and mobilizing the requisite resources, we have agreed to work closely with other concerned regional and international organizations.
10. While urging our countries to pursue domestic economic policies conducive to rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation, we wish to stress the continuing important role of external concessional resources. We thus urge the international donor community to continue to provide adequate replenishment to such funds as the African Development Fund (ADF), the International Development Association (IDA), and the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF). And, cognizant of the need to ensure that African countries have adequate access to existing resources, such as the European Development Fund (EDF) under the Lome Convention and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), we have agreed that our three institutions will cooperate to provide the requisite technical assistance, as well as initiate capacity-building measures, to enhance the negotiating capability of African countries.
11. We are encouraged by the increasing interest shown in the development of Africa as reflected in such initiatives as the System-Wide Special Initiative for Africa of the United Nations as well as those of the OECD countries. In this context, we note that Africa's developmental needs will be discussed at the second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II). We expect the Conference to be open to all African countries and to take up a number of important issues relating to the development prospects of the region. We have also agreed that our three institutions will undertake preparatory work in four important areas, namely, the continued availability of concessional resources to African countries, international market access for African goods and products, private sector participation in infrastructural development, and conflict management, peace, and development.
12. To enhance coordination and a better exchange of information between our three institutions, we have agreed to strengthen our Joint Secretariat. In addition, we have agreed to deepen our working relations by setting up working groups, by encouraging contacts between our various organizational units, and promoting co-operation at the expert level.
13. In conclusion, we reaffirm our commitment to develop further a common approach, as well as deepen our collaborative efforts, to assist our countries meet better the challenges of economic and social development.
- Salim A. Salim, Secretary General, OAU
- K.Y. Amoako, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive
- Omar Kabbaj, President, African Development Bank
Abidjan 23 January 1998
For more information, please contact:
Peter K.A. da Costa, Senior Communication Adviser
UN Economic Commission for Africa
P.O. Box 3001 (official) or 3005 (personal)
Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Tel: +251-1-51 58 26 (direct) or: +251-1-51 72 00 ext. 35486
From: email@example.com Message-Id: <199802091406.GAA03268@igc3.igc.apc.org> Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 09:04:40 -0500 Subject: Africa: Regional Executives Statement
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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