Africa’s efforts to meet the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their 2015 deadline are threatened by the impact of the global financial crisis on the continent’s economies, said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.
“Despite some notable achievements, progress is off track across the continent,” she told the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Ms. Migiro noted that between 2000 and 2008, Africa achieved impressive economic growth that averaged more than five per cent per year.
“But that good news is in peril. The economic crisis, for which Africa bears no responsibility, has drastically reversed recent trends,” she said at the meeting, hosted by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
She noted that Africa’s growth for 2009 is projected to hit a paltry 1.7 per cent. Many people are losing their jobs and falling back into poverty.
“Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals is likely to be adversely affected. The food and energy crises, as well as climate change, will also complicate our work.”
Ms. Migiro urged the participants – who are examining how the various United Nations departments, agencies and other components work more effectively together – to implement the recommendations issued in July 2008 by the MDG Africa Steering Group.
Chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Group called for a number of measures in such areas as agriculture, education, health and infrastructure to speed up Africa’s progress towards reaching the Goals.
Regarding agriculture, the Group called for the international community to mobilize over $750 million to help the continent meet short-term needs that have arisen due to soaring food prices. It also urged African governments to work with global partners to launch a Green Revolution on the continent.
Ms. Migiro also invited participants to take part in the meeting planned for 23 November in New York of the MDG Africa Working Group to identify areas where action should be intensified.
Today’s gathering in Addis Ababa follows a similar regional coordination meeting convened in Beirut by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which was also attended by the Deputy Secretary-General.