African countries, emerging economies explore development breakthrough

01 Nov 2010

Sharing experiences in achieving economic growth and poverty reduction in China, Vietnam, and across Africa can be the basis for more effective, evidence-based, developmental policies

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Delegates from African countries, China and other emerging economies -- including Vietnam– convene from 1 to November to explore some of the most successful development experiences in the South and examine how to improve policies that sustain high growth and reduce poverty.

Co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) and the Ethiopian Government, the Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference will discuss policies and institutions that have contributed to advance development in China and other developing countries.

The conference will bring together government officials, development experts and representatives of regional African institutions to promote learning and the exchange of knowledge on a number of key issues. These include: accelerating growth and poverty reduction; enhancing food security; investing in social protection; and promoting new development partnerships.

Over the last ten years, Africa has seen rapid and stable economic growth, reductions in poverty rates and progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A number of African countries have achieved growth rates and development achievements comparable to the most successful emerging economies around the world.

“Achieving fast and broad-based development is possible,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “All countries benefit when the experiences of what has worked on achieving development gains is widely shared. Africa has its own rich experiences to draw on, as well as those of emerging economies around the world.”

Drawing on the experience of China, the event also constitutes a key milestone in the evolving partnership agreed in November last year between Premier Wen Jiabao of China and the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

“China’s experience in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and ensuring food security is of international interest, as other nations also seek to make rapid development progress”, Helen Clark said

China’s success is known to have been based in part on drawing on local successes that were adopted in other parts of the country. This process of policymaking, drawing on evidence of what works, is of interest to other countries.

Vietnam, Ghana and Ethiopia will be among the country experiences which the conference will draw from. Extreme poverty in Vietnam dropped from 64 percent in 1993 to 22 percent in 2006, while Brazil halved its extreme poverty rate from 17 percent in 1981 to 8 percent in 2005. In Africa, Ghana has reduced its extreme poverty rate from above 50 percent in 1992 to 30 percent in 2006. Ethiopia offers another illustration of how it is possible to sustain among the world’s highest growth rates while rapidly reducing poverty. There will be important lessons to be drawn also from these experiences.

The Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference will feature keynote speakers including H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator; Zheng Wenkai¸Vice Minister of China’s State Council Leading Group Office on Poverty Alleviation and Development; Trevor Manuel, Minister in the Presidency, Republic of South Africa; Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank; and Vu Xuan Truong , Chief of Delegation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam.

Additional information can be found on the conference web page: http://www.undp.org/africa/africa-china-poverty-conference.shtml

Contact Information

Dereje Melaku
Communications Analyst
UNDP Ethiopia
Tel 251-11-51-51 77
dereje.melaku@undp.org