World must help Africa reap rewards from its economic efforts – Migiro

12 March 2009

Now that African countries have made great strides in adapting to globalization through economic reform, the international community must help them transform their gains into real reductions in poverty, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General said.

“African countries have committed themselves to globalization,” Asha-Rose Migiro said yesterday in her keynote address in Dar es Salaam at a conference entitled, “Changes: Successful Partnerships For Africa's Growth Challenge,” co-hosted by the Government of Tanzania and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“They have put their macroeconomic houses in order. They have designed not one but two generations of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. The world needs to match these efforts with increased aid and better technical assistance,” Ms. Migiro said.

She said that prudent policy decisions have played an important role in Africa’s strong performance, even as Africa benefited from the demand for commodities, debt relief and investors’ search for yield.

Governance indicators have improved steadily, with the number of democracies in Africa having almost tripled, and more than half of the remaining countries on the continent in democratic transitions, she added.

In addition, she pointed to major improvements in policies and institutions, noting that, for the past seven years, Africa’s scores under the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment have been rising.

Despite such progress, however, no country in Africa is on track to reach all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the internationally-agreed targets to slash extreme poverty and other ills by 2015.

For that to occur, Ms. Migiro maintained, international assistance was needed.

Unfortunately, she noted, previously-pledged development assistance is in doubt because of the economic crisis, and what she called “tried-and-true projects and programmes” lack financing.

“Africa’s development partners need to deliver with scaled-up aid,” she maintained. “The credibility of international commitments depends on it,” she said, adding that an increase in resources at the IMF and a check on resurgent protectionism was also needed.

The IMF conference in Tanzania ran from 10 to 11 March.


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