Africa is emerging as a new pole of global growth. Despite the weak and uneven recovery in many advanced economies, growth is expected to rebound in Africa in 2012. With an increasing number of people being lifted out of poverty, an emerging middle class, a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs, and increasing school enrolment, the continent is reaping the benefits of years of hard work, better macroeconomic management, and integration into the world economy. The transition process in parts of North Africa and the consolidation of democracies in other parts of Africa have created much optimism, high expectations and huge potential in terms of economic and social development. Nevertheless, major challenges remain: poverty is still widespread, famine and food insecurity affect many, violent conflicts persist in certain places, youth unemployment is high and climate change poses a growing threat to long-term development prospects. More immediately, the world is only three years away from the target date for the Millenium Development Goals, and already starting to think about post-2015 Goals.
Against this background, this fifth joint "Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness in Africa" by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), reviews the delivery of commitments made by African governments and their international partners, the results achieved and future policy priorities. It covers four broad policy areas: sustainable economic growth, investment in people, good governance, and financing for development. Within these four areas, it looks at 18 individual topics.
The report is a unique collaborative exercise in mutual accountability, undertaken under a mandate from NEPAD Heads of State and Government. It aims to provide a practical tool for political leaders and policy makers. It looks at Africa as a whole, while recognising the remarkable degree of diversity across the continent. It builds on the shift from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan.
This report shows that the track record continues to be mixed on the delivery of commitments and on the results achieved. For example, there has been real progress on the part of African governments in improving political and economic governance, restoring growth and rebuilding domestic revenue to an all-time high following the crisis, increasing access to primary education and health services, and reducing extreme poverty. Development partners have made an important contribution, including through substantial Official Development Assistance, even though earlier commitments have not been met in full. But enormous challenges remain in sustaining this growth, increasing investment, tackling infrastructure constraints, galvanizing the potential of women and youth, and accelerating progress on the most ‘hard-to-reach’ MDGs in the continent, including improving access to clean water and sanitation and reducing maternal and child mortality.
The development process in Africa is being led more and more visibly by African governments, stakeholders and citizens. Domestic revenue provides the main source of finance for their development efforts. Closer regional integration, in areas such as trade and infrastructure, is also essential to support this process. We welcome the increasing momentum that has been given in all these areas over the last year. But a successful development path for Africa is also linked to what happens in the wider global economy and to effective international support. We commend the countries that are keeping to their commitments in spite of tough fiscal consolidation plans. The crisis should not be used as an excuse to reduce development assistance. The focus of the G-20 on development since its November 2010 Summit in Seoul, and reiterated at its November 2011 Summit in Cannes, has also been an important step forward. At the OECD, this approach will be strengthened with a broader OECD strategy focused on knowledge sharing, growth enhancing policies and policy coherence.
Against this background, we identify the following priorities for Africa and its development partners.
We offer our support and call on African governments:
We offer our support and call on Africa’s development partners:
• To deepen co-operation in key areas of economic governance such as international tax issues and tackling illicit capital flows, in order to support Africa’s efforts to increase domestic revenue;
• To continue to resist protectionist pressures, and to re-double efforts to achieve further multilateral trade liberalisation;
• To resist pressure on aid levels, deliver those commitments which have been made to increase Official Development Assistance to Africa by 2015, and monitor progress towards this; and
• To facilitate Africa’s enhanced participation in any new arrangements for global governance.
We offer our support and call on the international community collectively:
• To seize the opportunity of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to put an international investment strategy in place to facilitate the transition towards a green economy; and
• To follow up the Fourth High level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness in Busan by building a true and inclusive global partnership to accelerate progress towards the MDGs, and design a framework for post-2015 Goals.
We, the UNECA and the OECD, stand ready to support African governments and stakeholders in business and society to reap the full benefits of Africa’s economic potential. This is essential to create more inclusive growth and development, and achieve better lives for Africans.