Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 13, 2018 (ECA) – The Economic Commission for Africa will soon be partnering with the private sector to ensure the sector plays a role in delivering growth and prosperity in Africa.
In remarks during a meeting with the Fifth Committee, a committee of the United Nations General Assembly responsible for administrative and budgetary matters that is currently in Addis Ababa, ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe said the private sector has a critical role to play as the engine of economic growth in Africa.
“We will be working a lot more with the private sector to deliver on some of the goals and objectives of Agendas 2063 and 2030. The private sector has a role to play in bringing growth and prosperity to the continent but they cannot do it alone,” she said.
Ms. Songwe gave the committee a strategic overview of work of the ECA, on-going efforts to restructure the organization, including regional Commissions, and related issues.
She highlighted topical issues on the ECA’s focus, including supporting member States to implement Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and the African Union’s 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063; post-Cotonou Agreement negotiations; migration; climate change; gender; agriculture; energy; trade and regional integration, especially following the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda, by 44 countries.
She also spoke about collaboration with other UN entities through amongst others, the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM), and UN Country Team and Agencies (UNCT/UNLT) mechanisms, as well as other Pan-African institutions such as the African Union. In addition, she highlighted the work of the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), adding the institution would soon partner with insurance companies and universities to deliver courses that can help spur growth on the continent.
But, added Ms. Songwe, a robust and sustainable budget is needed over time to ensure success on the ground.
“Sixty years later we need to deliver better and leaner. As the UN Secretary-General says, we need to be fit for purpose and we are on the process and hope to report back to you very soon. We are finalizing the piece of restructuring and realigning the ECA to deliver,” she said in reference to ECA marking 60 years of existence this year.
“We are looking at the structure of ECA to see how we can make it more efficient and more responsive but in a leaner way. We are looking at the skills of the staff that we have in-house and I think that we have been able to find a good number of places where there’s need for some adjustments and efficiency; we hope that in the next few months we will be rolling out some of that.”
Ms. Songwe and the Committee discussed the role of the ECA as a think tank, producing knowledge that influences policy at the global and regional levels; the ECA’s convening power on the Continent; and its advocacy work.
The committee later toured the ECA’s award-winning Print Shop, the iconic Africa Hall that is undergoing renovations for better utilization of this famous landmark venue.
Africa Hall is the birthplace of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union, which was constructed half a century ago to serve as a representation of Africa’s history, unity and culture.
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