By Lucy Ogalue/Temitope Ponle
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said Africa’s recovery from its various challenges should be inclusive to foster equal opportunity for all.
The Executive Secretary, ECA, Mr Antonio Pedro, at a virtual news briefing on Monday in Abuja, listed some of the challenges to include climate change and COVID-19 pandemic, among others.
The briefing was on the 55th Session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development of the ECA.
The theme of the conference is: “Fostering Recovery and Transformation in Africa to Reduce Inequalities and Vulnerabilities.’’
According to Pedro, the conference aims to renew focus and action on reducing poverty, inequality and other factors that have left the African population continuously vulnerable to these scourges.
He said, “recovery efforts must be pro-poor and inclusive, with a view to fostering a new social contract that offers equal opportunity for all.
“Considerable opportunities to reach these goals exist on the continent and beyond, including through activities carried out under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), green investments, digital transformation and reforms to the global financial architecture.”
Pedro said the ministerial segment would include three roundtable discussions, to allow the ministers and participants engage on policies and interventions to foster resilience.
He said that discussions would be on socio-economic implications of climate change and opportunities to leverage green finance and harnessing the AfCFTA for economic resilience and inclusion.
In response to how the recovery should be, Pedro said it was important that Africa’s growth does not leave anyone behind.
According to him, if we do so, then the social contract that is key to have stable stability and prosperity will be completely disrupted.
“So, we can do this in the design of our policies and the implementation of our policies.
“First, the design has to be consultative so that the needs, the priorities, the expectations of all the stakeholders are incorporated in the policy instruments that are designed.
“This requires an effort in mapping, in desegregating the data,” he said.
The executive secretary said the design and implementation of the AfCFTA needed to incorporate small and medium enterprises and the informal sector to be part of the agenda.
He said that Africa could utilise industrial policy instruments such as local content.
“Meaning that we have to create instruments to enable local communities where some of our major projects are localised.
“The communities that have access to employment opportunities, to the provision of services and goods that are part of that particular business chain.”
The conference would take place from March 15 to March17 followed by the ministerial segment of the conference on March 20 to March 21 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.