Addis Ababa, 23 July 2020 (ECA) - Economic Commission for Africa staff on Thursday completed a three-day virtual 2nd Quarter Accountability and Programme Performance Review that allowed the institution to take stock of achievements and challenges over the past three months, especially in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Sub-programmes and support entities provided updates, focusing on achievements, challenges and emerging opportunities, such as using technologies to deliver results and the thinking around building back better in the post-pandemic phase. Discussions touched on the many limitations arising from the context in which ECA is operating, particularly in the operational and convening services, data collection and technical services in field operations. Furthermore, the ban on recruitment in the Secretariat has complicated delivery of the sub-programmes and more than 11 key staff members have transferred to the new DCO system.
Speaking at the end of the review, Executive Secretary Vera Songwe said she was pleased with the excellent and honest discussions on how the think tank is doing in serving the member States and ‘how we can do much better and faster to push for new and innovative ways to move the continent to the next level of development’.
She acknowledged the challenges of mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and applauded the innovative ideas and activities that have emerged, as reported by the sub-programmes. She also appreciated the acknowledgment by member states on the support provided by the ECA in this regard and informed the session of her ongoing efforts to unlock the embargo on recruitment.
For his part, Strategic Planning, Oversight and Results Division (SPORD) Director, Said Adejumobi, whose office facilitated the meeting noted that ECA has refocused its priorities to support Africa's COVID-19 interventions and provided analysis to member states on the Pandemic’s socioeconomic impact; exit strategies from the lockdowns. Other emerging areas of support have included the work on a stimulus support package and debt standstill as well as the launch of the Africa Communication and Information Platform.
Mr. Adejumobi also underscored that ECA has not only increased its visibility, its profile as a Think Tank has been raised over the past few months as it geared up support for member States in the context of COVID-19 strategies.
“Beyond COVID there may be need for us to revise our targets and deliverables and make them realizable in terms of what we want to achieve by the end of the year,” he said.
The review emphasized the need for the sub-programmes to continue to collaborate and work more closely with the RC system and the UN Country Teams throughout the continent in order to deepen impact on the ground. Budgetary issues, including the need to repurpose any unspent funds were also discussed. Given the status of the Pandemic, all meetings will continue to be held virtually, as part of embracing the UN’s new way of doing business.
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