Africa Regional Forum On Sustainable Development (ARFSD) was a success in Addis Ababa


The 2017 ARFSD is in preparation for the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) that will be held in New York in July under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) under the theme; “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.

The 2017 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) which officially kicked-off in Addis Ababa was a success. Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Abdalla Hamdok, called on Africa to stop exporting raw materials and primary goods to feed industries of the developed world. It was explained that the exportation of these materials is the cause for Africa’s stagnant economy.

In addition, Mr. Hamdok said finished products should be exported which would help Africa empower its people by eradicating some of the challenges it is currently facing, in particular unemployment and poverty.

“It is high time that the continent really changed this outdated model which we inherited from colonial rule, of continuing to export raw materials and primary commodities. Africa has to take a bold decision and say to itself ‘stop exporting raw materials’. We have to add value to our commodities and that is the surest way of creating decent jobs, addressing unemployment and related issues.”

Mr. Hamdok said every ARFSD is a stark reminder that the clock is ticking very fast for the continent.

“We have a narrow window of opportunity to march boldly towards reducing poverty. The challenge is huge but the opportunities for transformational development are limitless,” he said.

Ethiopia’s Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Seleshi Bekele Awulachew, said the theme of the meeting; “Ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity for all” would be rendered meaningless unless the continent started addressing vulnerabilities on the continent. He said it is better to put in action than words.

“Inclusiveness, citizen participation, peace and security are key pillars to the achievement of the development agendas. Good governance and leadership are also crucial ingredients to a peaceful and prosperous Africa,” said Mr. Bekele.

He applauded and congratulated the ECA for partnering with Ethiopia, through its finance ministry in the area of statistics. He said it is a bold step that will allow the country to monitor and track progress in the implementation of its developmental priorities. This will also help to know the financial status of the progress made.

The African Union Commission’s Economic Affairs Commissioner, Anthony Mothae Maruping, reiterated that the AUC, working with its partners, was doing its best to ensure Member States domesticate Agendas 2030 and 2063. He also mentioned that partnerships with the outside world should be in the context of the two agendas.

Mr. Maruping said Africa can only grow if it empowered its youth and women and invested in the necessary infrastructure, adding Agenda 2063 seeks to achieve accelerated, stable, inclusive and real economic job-creating growth in Africa.

On his part, he explained that no form of poverty was acceptable on the continent, adding domestic resource mobilization, including stemming illicit financial flows, was crucial if the continent is to fund its development.

“Africa knows what it wants, what should be done to get it or to get there and with what to get there and when to get there,” said Mr. Maruping.

“There’s coherence, consistency and alignment in Africa. We just have to stand up and implement both agendas, the AU is also reforming itself to make sure that it is fit for purpose to deliver prosperity to the African people in an efficient and coherent manner.” He added.

It was also reported that Egypt’s Deputy Minister for Planning and International Cooperation, Ms. Nehal Magdy Ahmed Elmegharbel, shared her country’s experience in domesticating and embedding Agendas 2030 and 2063 into its national plans and vision. She said it is believed that if embedded, it will aid the country’s growth.

2017 ARFSD was a success as it opened some countries’ eyes to what they are lacking for growth. Representatives from many African countries were present to jingle minds together on issues affecting Africa’s growth and development. However, possible solutions were met at the end.

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