Director of Regional Bureau for Africa at UNDP's regional meeting

17 Jun 2009

Tegegnework Gettu, Assistant Secretary-General & Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa on the occasion of the 2009 Annual Cluster Meeting of Resident Representatives/Resident Coordinators from UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, Addis Ababa

Your Excellency, Mr. Ato Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia,
Your Excellency, Mr. Lionel Zinsou, Special Adviser to the President of Benin,
Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa,
UNDP Resident Representatives and Resident Coordinators,
Country Directors,
Colleagues from UNDP and the UN system,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I warmly welcome you all to the Regional Bureau for Africa cluster meeting and let me extend my gratitude to the Government and People of Ethiopia for their warm welcome and known tradition of hospitality.

I am especially thankful to the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who would be joining us soon and Mr. Lionel Zinsou, Special Adviser to the President of Benin.

I am also pleased to welcome our own Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, to this meeting.  His unique and usual exemplary cooperation and support has helped us realize this gathering and we are very grateful for his strategic support.  In particular, most of us benefited from his wisdom, guidance and mentoring.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Fidele Sarassoro and the Country Office here for all their support and all the hard work that has gone into preparing for this meeting.

Allow me, Ladies and Gentlemen, to extend a special welcome to our new Administrator, Miss Helen Clark.  I am very honored to present her to you and welcome her to this meeting.

Miss Clark served nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand and brings with her a wealth of experience critical to the continued strength and relevance of UNDP.  Throughout her tenure as Prime Minister, she has engaged in policy development and advocacy across the international, economic, social and cultural spheres.  Her commitment and experience in promoting economic and social justice, being a champion of the Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction are huge assets for us all to take full advantage of.  Her strong advocacy for the problems of climatic change with a development dividend to the developing countries and her strong support to gender equality have critical added value to UNDP’s work in Africa and the world at large.  

Her recognition of the special needs of Africa have been manifested immediately upon arrival and her first visit as an Administrator being to Africa and the decision to meet the Resident Representatives and Country Direcrors in Africa here in Addis and attend the cluster meeting is a loud and clear statement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to all other partners who have kindly accepted to join us for this meeting. Our meeting would not be effective without your valuable participation and we thank you for your continued commitment to Africa’s development.

Friends and colleagues,

The Resident Coordinators/Representatives and Country Directors of UNDP, I must say that I have looked forward to this meeting since I assumed my functions within the Regional Bureau for Africa few months ago.  I trust that this get together will be a very productive one in helping us determine some of our common priorities for Africa and UNDP for the coming year.

The extensive field presence of UNDP in African countries under your leadership is clearly the major strength that we have as an organization. It is important that in addition to this large-scale presence, we commit and rededicate ourselves to helping to address the challenges that face Africa. I believe that our discussion here will have an important bearing on our work as development practitioners.

The first day of our meeting will be dealing with the continental issues which command the attention of the world at this moment—the global financial crisis and what it implies for Africa—as it is related to growth, employment, trade, investment, economic policies and the achievements of the MDGs.

This is an issue in which UNECA, African Union, African Development Bank, African Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and others have been working on in assessing this new landscape and making proposals going forward.  Our deliberations will add to that.  We will continue our cooperation with UNECA, AfDB and the Bretton Woods institutions and other institutions on this.

On the remaining three days, we will focus on the issues of the UN reform and Delivering as One, coordination and system-wide coherence, partnership strategy and RBA’s position on the issue of resource mobilization; BCPR and its support to the field offices in Africa; BOM, HR, financial, procurement, legal and security issues, BDP-related policy and strategic support, climatic change, gender related programmes, audit and investigations, and finally, specific RBA issues on the future trends, regional centers, country and regional programmes.  We will have one-to-one as well as group meetings and clinics.

This is all planned and designed in consultation with Bureau Directors, Resident Coordinators and corporate entities.  The whole objective and purpose is to make this cluster a cluster to serve the needs of the Country Offices.  This is for the RCs and CDs to hear short synthesis presentations to be followed by interventions, comments and expressions of the whole process should be demand- or supply- driven, lessons learnt and how to improve HQ and corporate services to you should be addressed.

As I conclude I would like to share the feeling of many of us in UNDP and RBA in particular that we are optimistic about Africa and its future economic prospect and the role of UNDP in making a quality contribution and a difference.

If we do the right thing, Africa will emerge and will be ready to take off.

Thank you.