UN Economic Commission for Africa website. The European Union’s (EU) Commissioner for Development, Mr. Andris Piebalgs, said on 8 May 2010 in Addis Ababa that the EU was interested in forging deeper partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), on various development issues, including climate change and land ownership in Africa.
Mr. Piebalgs, who led an EU delegation on a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of ECA, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, said the issue of land ownership in Africa was critical to the EU because “it will continue to be sheer misery for Africans and development will be seriously hampered until we resolve the land ownership problem”. He said the EU was supporting a small project on land ownership in Cape Verde and urged the ECA to initiate similar pilot projects and give technical support to that of Cape Verde.
Responding, Mr. Janneh said the issues outlined by the EU Commissioner were already being addressed at the ECA and stressed that the EU continued to be one of the largest supporters of development in Africa, especially in terms of the resources invested on the continent.
He said ECA had collaborated with the African Union and the African Development Bank in developing the Pan-African Land Policy Framework and Guidelines after intense stakeholder consultations at the subregional level and called for EU support in operationalizing the findings in the report across Africa.
Mr. Janneh also acknowledged EU’s support of African integration agenda, which, he said, constitutes a major pillar of ECA’s work programme which is being implemented in collaboration with the African Union Commission.
The Executive Secretary said while ECA would be interested in deepening its partnership with the EU on climate change and land ownership, the Commission would also be interested in forging new partnerships on governance, women’s rights, regional integration, trade and other areas of shared values, including the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), statistics and statistical development.
Mr Janneh said the APRM was ample proof of Africa’s commitment to good governance and that the EU could help the process, by, for instance, helping countries which have completed the process and are implementing the APRM recommendations.
“We need a system of monitoring and evaluating what happens long after APRM country assessment has been done and the EU could help in that regard,” said Janneh.
He said the EU could also help African countries to build transparent governance systems “by helping to institute a credible system of auditing and a system where impunity does not thrive” as part of its support for good governance on the continent. ECA publishes a biennial report, Africa Governance Report, acclaimed as the most comprehensive publication on the issue of governance in Africa.
The Executive Secretary also urged the EU to get involved in developing the capacity of African countries to generate credible statistics in order to promote evidence-based development and growth.
Mr. Piebalgs’s courtesy call was part of his official visit to the African Union Commission, Ethiopia and ECA.