In Cameroon, UNDP Africa Chief calls on partners to redouble efforts on development goals
Yaoundé, Cameroon -- The Director of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye today wrapped up his official visit to Cameroon, urging development partners and the Government to boost their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Now is the time to take the progress made and take it to the next level. Cameroon’s potential is limitless, having aspired to become an emerging country by 2035,” said Mr. Dieye. He added that that “bold measures to invest in economic transformation, diversification and infrastructure, business creation and social protection must accompany those efforts”.
Although it is the sixth largest economy in Africa, and has abundant natural resources, Cameroon remains off track to meet most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), even though progress has been made in areas such as universal primary school education and access to water.
The Cameroonian Government has put into place a poverty reduction strategy focusing on inclusive economic growth, strengthening local government and creating jobs.
In addition, Cameroon led among the world’s most active and inclusive consultations on the Post-2015 development agenda. In 2013, as part of that effort, 50,000 people participated in an UN-sponsored online vote and chose education, healthcare, water and good governance as top development issues to succeed the MDGs.
During his visit, Mr. Dieye, accompanied by the UN Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi, met with a diverse range of Government officials, including the Prime Minister and Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Planning and Presidency, as well as civil society representatives, diplomatic corps, UNDP and UN Country Team.
“UNDP is committed to helping the country achieve its transformation agenda,” said Najat Rochdi, the UNDP Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon. She added that “people need to be at the center of this great leap. Women and youth must play an active role in the country’s transformation”.
Towards the end of his visit, Mr. Dieye also attended the first Ministerial Meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) V in Yaoundé.
He discussed with ministers from Africa and Japan, as well as officials from the World Bank, the African Union and many other bilateral and multilateral organizations, efforts to accelerate the implementation of TICAD’s Yokohama Action Plan. Participants also addressed key issues facing the continent, such as women and youth, Africa’s priorities in the Post-2015 Agenda, and agriculture, food and nutrition.
Together, the participants committed to supporting the priorities at the core of the Common African Position on the post-2015 Agenda, including economic transformation, peace and security, inclusive growth and sustainable human development.
During the meeting, Mr. Dieye said Africa should take special measures to promote inclusive growth, particularly by using extractive industries to invest back into communities and the economy. He also pointed out that urgent measures should be taken across the continent to curb illicit financial flows, which total 3 to 4 percent of Africa’s GDP.
In addition, cross-border security issues and particularly the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) featured high on the agenda.
Mr. Dieye and his counterparts agreed that the crisis in the Central Africa Republic was exerting pressure on all neighboring countries, including Cameroon, and reminded partners of UNDP’s intention to address the regional dimension of the conflict.
"Cameroon bears the brunt of the crisis in the Central African and its communities have absorbed a number of refugees that far exceeds the indigenous population. Partners should provide more support to the Government of Cameroon to support the communities that host refugees," Mr. Dieye said.
There are currently 170,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in Cameroon, as compared with 97,000 in Chad and 56,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.