Excellency, Mr. Amara Essy, Secretary-General of the Organization
of African Unity
Ladies and Gentlemen,
the twelfth time that I have been honored to address this august
Council. You can be forgiven for thinking: Well, here he is again.
fact is that I have never taken this privilege as routine and I certainly
do not do so this year. For this year has been extraordinary.
addressed you last year in Lusaka, I reviewed concepts for a
new relationship with donors, which the Economic Commission for
Africa (ECA) had proposed. I said that a new relationship with
donors was required to address our trade, debt, HIV/AIDS and
fact, we have had the busiest year for African development issues
in a long time. Whether it is the most consequential year is yet
to be seen.
after the attack on the World Trade Center, many world leaders
said that the world had to respond in part by making life more
secure for those in poverty. It was pointed out that the G-8 had a
chance to do that if it took advantage of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) ministerial at Doha, the UN Financing for
Development Conference (FfD) in Monterrey, the G8 Summit in
Canada, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in
have we come since?
Doha, hard work and excellent preparation by the Geneva African
Ambassadors Group under the leadership of the United Republic of
Tanzania paid off. A so-called development round of tariff
reduction negotiations was put on a timetable of three years,
compared with eight years for the Uruguay Round.
were pro-development achievements on Public Health issues and on
trade-related intellectual property rights. There was progress on
agricultural trade but serious slippage since due to huge new US
subsidies to its wealthy farmers. We made little headway on
textiles. Environmental and hygiene standards are to be resolved.
We did not gain much on industrial tariffs. We made progress on
capacity building by placing the issue on the continuing agenda.
So the results at Doha were mixed, but a lot better for us than
many previous WTO meetings. Certainly Doha built up expectations
for further progress at Monterrey.
Monterrey, there was further progress. To me, it was most striking
that all the major national statements, from developed and
developing country leaders, agreed that the highest priority for
developing countries was good governance. They agreed that these
economies had to be part of the global system. They agreed that
there is a need for higher quality aid. And they agreed on the
need for more resources, estimated by experts at $50 billion/year,
to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA)
made commitments to increase their aid levels by a combined total
of $12 billion/year. $12 billion to meet the goal of $50 billion
was, like Doha, a partial success; but it marked a reversal of aid
trends. The lingering question was what would be Africa's share of
question was answered last week when the G-8 leaders agreed that
under conditions of good performance, Africa could expect half of
the increase, bringing our aid back to 1990 levels.
Africa Action Plan was adopted as a framework to support
NEPAD. The G-8 agreed that each of them would establish Enhanced
Partnerships with countries [Quote] whose performance reflects the
NEPAD commitments [End quote]. They agreed on a goal for duty-free
and quota free market access for all products originating from the
Least Developed Countries (LDCs), many of which are in Africa.
They added $1 billion to fully fund the Highly-Indebted Poor
Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund and to increase the use of grants
rather than loans for the poorest debt-vulnerable countries.
were specific on peace issues. With active encouragement from UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the G-8 agreed to provide additional
support to bring peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
and Sudan, and to consolidate peace in Angola and Sierra Leone
within the next year. They agreed to joint action to support
post-conflict development in the Great Lakes and Sudan and to set
up contact groups with the UN and other partners to resolve
specific conflicts in Africa. They also agreed to finish work on a
joint plan with Africa by 2003 to develop African capabilities to
undertake peace support operations, including at the regional
level. Pursuit of these points has significant promise.
the G-8 agreed to keep Africa on their agenda, by reviewing
progress in implementation of the plan at their next session.
emerged from the G-8, like Doha and Monterrey, not with everything
we wanted, but with tangible progress.
have the Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development
coming at the end of next month.
Summit is intended to accelerate the implementation of the
environmental agenda, established in the Rio Summit a decade ago,
and the Millennium Development Goals for human development adopted
at the Millennium Summit. In essence, sustainable development is
the merger of human well-being and natural resource stewardship.
stakes are highest in the upcoming Summit because our
sustainability issues are more acute than other regions.
ten of our countries will meet the poverty reduction, education
and health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), if current trends
continue. In many of our countries our most precious asset, our
people, are increasingly wasting away from HIV/AIDS. Here in
Southern Africa, we are in the midst of a grim parade of funerals.
The warnings are clear that West, Central and Northeast Africa are
about to emulate the crisis of Eastern and Southern Africa.
a second wasting away. From time immemorial, humanity has managed
to pass down an environment from one generation to the next that
has had promise for the future. If present trends continue, our
inheritors will receive a markedly worse environment and much
trends will result in Africa being a full degree warmer in
temperature over the next half century and that will bring us10
percent less rain in Southern Africa and the Horn, and 15 percent
less rain in the already parched Sahel. If present trends
continue, our forests will shrink by 25 percent over the next
half century. Those in low-lying coastal areas will have to move
inland because of a rising ocean. Climate change is real.
Recently, a piece of ice, nearly three times the size of
Mauritius, broke off of the Antarctic.
trends are well under way, but they can be slowed and in many
cases reversed. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, says that we
already have the right substantive agreements, we now need to form
the partnerships and take other actions necessary to sustain our
rich countries need to fund accelerated implementation of the key
agreements reached in recent years on climate, desertification and
biodiversity. The rich countries are the main polluters and main
cause of global climate change. They must be held to account. I
believe that we need commitment from key governments to back the
Kyoto Climate Change and other vital agreements.
same time, we in Africa have our share of hard work to reverse
very serious environmental damage now going on in such fields as:
where chronic shortages are now being faced in 14 of our
fertility, where our ability to grow our own food is being
rapidly eroded. I should note that a major ECA report next
month will say we must buy into the genetic food crop
revolution in part to preserve our soil.
the negative environmental trends is the fact that our high
population growth is straining our limited natural resources.
challenge in Johannesburg is to mobilize different sets of
actions, rich and poorer countries need to take, to contribute to
a sustainable world.
about after Johannesburg? In considering the coming year, I offer
you and our Heads of State a few observations.
first regards NEPAD. Several among the press and Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) felt that the G-8 offered us only peanuts. We
should not be disappointed, or deterred. Let us recall the
fundamentals of NEPAD: an initiative for African ownership of
development, African leadership of development, African
accountability for development, and African responsibility for
development. NEPAD is not about building a bigger tin cup for
begging. In this regard, Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki were right
to observe that the G-8 meeting was a new departure not an
us must be in for the long haul. It is our plan and we must make
the heart of NEPAD, the breakthrough of NEPAD, indeed the hallmark
of NEPAD is in Governance. The NEPAD Heads of State and Government
Implementation Committee have made important recommendations in
their "Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and
Corporate Governance" which they will table at the Summit.
Why take the Declaration seriously? Because our stakes override
those of others. There is clear evidence that democracy is equated
with high growth; and that good governance is synonymous with very
high growth. This is as true for the resource rich countries as
for others not so fortunate.
Declaration on democracy and governance is a far-reaching and
powerful statement. The challenge will be in the implementation.
The Implementation Committee recommends an African Peer Review
Mechanism for a periodic review of political, economic and
corporate governance status in member States. This is a
self-monitoring mechanism for collective action and mutual
learning. As such, the African Peer Review Mechanism is first and
foremost for Africans.
with professionalism and integrity, it holds the promise to
generate popular confidence in institutions and processes of our
governments. It is essential for making efficient use of our
scarce public resources. It will foster an enabling environment
for the private sector and has the potential to unlock resources
from this sector to generate economic growth and help overcome
poverty. By demonstrating that Africans have the political will
and commitment to hold themselves accountable to mutually agreed
codes and standards of governance, the African Peer Review holds
the promise of being instrumental for effective partnerships with
the international community.
worked closely with the NEPAD Steering Committee and the
secretariat on a number of key areas related to the design of
NEPAD, particularly on the peer review and governance related
matters. We pledge our continued and deepened support and
assistance in this area through our assigned role in the African
Peer Review Mechanism.
third observation is that while the discussions so far have not
produced a cornucopia of funds for priorities identified by
NEPAD, there is enough interest among our Governments, the donors,
and the private sector for NEPAD to get started. Let us encourage
some practical, doable public and private investments and let us
call this a testing period for NEPAD. It is important that we get
started. We can test out the NEPAD mechanisms to improve them
through experience. We can become more credible by taking concrete
we should take seriously the dialogue process authorized by the
G-8. In fact we should strive to be a permanent part of the G-8
agenda. We need to continue to work with our friends in the G8 who
are keeping Africa as a key issue. But we must also remember our
non G-8 partners - such as The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden -
who, in percentage terms, provide more ODA and are among Africa's
I want to underscore that insofar as HIV/AIDS is concerned, we
either become a community together or we will die. At the
political level, as a region, we have not yet made AIDS an
appropriate priority. Our upcoming Summit and the Johannesburg
Summit are key occasions to correct this. The same population
planning programmes will save lives from HIV/AIDS while reducing
the pressure on our resources through promoting smaller families.
Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis is overwhelmed
with proposals and requires bold replenishment to save millions of
our people from certain death. I appeal to you to help make this
case boldly, clearly and without hesitation.
I come to our African Union. Last March ECA in full cooperation
with OAU, held two back-to-back events to help define priorities
for regional integration. One was a symposium on the African Union
organized by the InterAfrica Group. The other was our flagship
African Development Forum involving 1,000 leaders from Africa's
public, private and non-profit sectors. All of our countries were
represented at the Forum with official delegations, several headed
by Ministers present here. I am very pleased that recommendations
from these meetings have contributed to the recommendations for
the African Union that my colleagues and dear brother, Amara Essy,
the Secretary-General of the OAU, has placed before you. We at ECA
are invested in the African Union and will do all we can to help
make it a major success.
we are coming to the end of a series of international meetings
creating added solidarity with Africa, we are also entering a new
era of internal solidarity. In this amazing and critical period,
when the agenda has become so complex, the work of Foreign
Ministers has correspondingly grown more complex. My ECA
colleagues and I are at your service.
you well in your important deliberations.