A development breakthrough for Africa

29 Jun 2010

Just sixty days before the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit, UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa will host its annual Regional Management Team Meeting in Ghana (14-17 July), examining the region’s economic and development gains over the past decade and looking into ways of achieving a development breakthrough for Africa.

Africa on the move

Over the past decade, Africa has achieved significant economic and development gains, spurred by a favorable global economic situation, but also sound macro-economic policies and improvements in governance. Although Africa remains the region with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, poverty rates have dropped rapidly since 1990, hovering around an estimated 46 percent in 2008.

Sub-Saharan Africa has also succeeded in reducing by 17.4 per cent between 2001 and 2008 the number of adults and children newly infected by HIV/AIDS, and access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy has been expanded in many countries.

The region continues to show overall progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Gender parity in primary education will be achieved in most countries in Africa in 2015. The number of seats held by women in parliament has increased in at least 31 countries.

Today, Africa remains vulnerable to major risks. The global economic downturn, coming on the heels of the food and fuel crises, has put economic and social progress on hold. Together with global economic volatility and external shocks, political crises and conflict, demographic pressure and climate change pose serious threats to the region’s development prospects. Accessing development finance, creating employment, investing in human capital and promoting inclusive growth that favors the most vulnerable will continue to remain important challenges.

Seizing the opportunity for "transformational change"

The Regional Management Team Meeting will examine both the advances and the challenges that lie ahead for African countries. UNDP and a host of representatives from regional institutions, African governments and UN agencies will identify opportunities for putting Africa on a sustainable, equitable and high-growth development path in the context of these new and existing challenges.

The conference will assess the prospects and realities of MDG progress in Africa, with an emphasis on lessons learned and practical actions to accelerate progress toward the MDGs. In a series of expert panels, the participants will also discuss new perspectives to create jobs and income growth; IT and connectivity in Africa; climate change; and the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. A series of roundtable discussions will examine climate adaptation and mitigation opportunities, as well as managing risks in the realm of crisis prevention and recovery.

UN reform, UNDP’s effectiveness at the country-level and the potential of emerging partnerships will constitute additional topics of discussion.

The UNDP Administrator Helen Clark will attend the conference, two months after a visit of the continent that took her to Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and South Africa, where she was able to witness the progress made on some of the MDGs such as tackling poverty, fighting HIV and promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Keynote speakers and panelists

Tegegnework Gettu, the Director of UNDP in Africa, will also attend the event, in addition to more than thirty Resident Coordinators from across the region. A selection of keynote speakers will bring their expertise to the panel discussions, including Benno Ndulu, the Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania; Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank; Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union.