The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has said that it will partner with the African Union (AU) and other bodies to ensure sustainable development on the continent.
Mrs Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary, UNECA, said this while presenting the report on the commission’s activities at its ongoing 53rd Conference of Ministers in Addis Ababa.
The Report presented by Mr Said Adejumobi, Director of Strategic Planning, Oversight and Results Division, was on the commission’s activities from April 2020 to March 2021.
Songwe said providing leadership in knowledge-driven strategies to address key development issues in Africa was of utmost importance to the think-tank.
The report highlighted some of the commission’s role in working with partners including; the African Development Bank (AfDB), NEPAD as well as the private sector to inaugurate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In addition to supporting the implementation of the AfCFTA in member states, the commission had also been working with the private sector and countries on infrastructure development, innovative financing and related sub-regional interventions.
It further mentioned the ECA’s support for Africa’s coordinated and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said that the commission had coordinated regional action and advocacy for global support for Africa with weekly COVID-19 meetings with key stakeholders, and periodic meetings with African finance ministers.
The advocacy efforts resulted in savings of $5 billion under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
It noted that the think-tank had focused on ensuring that African countries had adequate resources to respond to the pandemic.
This, it noted, was with calls for an extra financial liquidity amounting to $500 billion through Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), policy support actions, better market access, more concessional resources and an extension of the DSSI till the end of 2022.
The report also included the Africa Knowledge Management Hub on COVID-19 and the African Medical Supplies Platform.
Songwe said the ECA which also enhanced operational modalities for impactful delivery, was implementing UN regional reform; and promoting the digital and data revolution in Africa.
In response to the presentation, representatives of member states lauded ECA for the work it was doing to support African countries and called for more capacity development programmes, especially on digitisation, e-commerce and related tech issues.
The 53rd conference is being held under the theme: “Africa’s Sustainable Industrialisation and Diversification in the Digital Era in the Context of COVID-19’’.
By Temitope Ponle