Joint Statement from the 14th Africa Partnership Forum, 29-30 April 2010, Toronto

Africa Partnership Forum website. The 14th meeting of the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) was held in Toronto, Canada, on 29-30 April 2010. The meeting was attended by personal representatives of Heads of State and Government of Africa and its principal development partners, and of the Heads of regional and international organisations. It was co-chaired by Austria, Canada, Ethiopia and Malawi. The meeting was addressed by the Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, The Hon. Beverley J. Oda; the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Lawrence Cannon; and the Mali Minister of Health, The Hon. Oumar Ibrahima Touré.

2.    The meeting discussed Africa’s key concerns, contributions and expectations in the run-up to major regional and international summits over the period to September 2010, including the G8 and G20 Summits in June, the 15th African Union (AU) Summit in July, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review Summit in September.

3.    The meeting welcomed the outcome of the 14th AU Summit in January/February 2010, particularly the key decision on AU/NEPAD integration, relating to the establishment of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency. The NEPAD Agency is the technical arm of the AU, with the core mandate to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of Africa’s regional and continental programmes/projects.

4.    In addition, the meeting noted the priorities identified by African leaders and the results of the AU/ECA meeting of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in March 2010 in Lilongwe, Malawi, and the meeting of G8 Development Ministers on 26-28 April 2010 in Halifax, Canada.    It was briefed by Canada on the preparations for the G8 and G20 Summits, and by the AU Commission on the preparations for the 15th AU Summit.

Progress towards the MDGs

5.    The meeting re-affirmed the strong commitment of both Africa and its development partners to the achievement of the MDGs, the need for action by both sides of the partnership to accelerate progress, and the importance in this context of the MDG Review Summit. It encouraged participation at the highest level in this Summit. It emphasised that that there has been significant progress by many countries towards the MDGs, but expressed its concern that Africa as a whole will not attain some MDGs if current trends continue.

6.    It noted that recent economic conditions had been difficult due to the combined effect of the fuel, food price and global financial and economic crises. This had weakened the rate of progress towards the MDGs. It reviewed two specific issues: maternal and child health, and food security:
– It welcomed the renewed priority which had been given by African Ministers of Health to reducing maternal and child mortality rates. It welcomed efforts made to implement the 2006 AU Maputo Plan of Action and the proposed focus of the next G8 Summit on how development partners could increase their support in this area.
– It also welcomed the strong priority which had been given by the AU in 2010 to the issue of food security. The meeting therefore re-affirmed the need for strong action by both African governments and development partners, to implement the Maputo commitment to allocate 10% of national budgets to agriculture, and the priorities identified in the 18 CAADP compacts that have been signed so far, and to mobilise the new resources which had been pledged in the L’Aquila Joint Statement on food security. It noted the contribution which innovative finance, partnerships and science and technology could make on both issues.

7.    Looking ahead, the meeting welcomed the continued high-level political commitment of African countries to the MDGs:
– It welcomed in particular the fact that Africa as a whole is on track to meet the primary education and gender goals, and has made significant progress in other areas such as reducing tuberculosis, stemming the spread of HIV/Aids, increasing the participation of women in decision-making, as well as increasing child immunization, reducing under-five mortality, and increasing access to safe drinking water;
– It was encouraged by the signs of economic recovery in Africa in 2010. It agreed that the resumption of strong and broad-based economic growth provided a platform for accelerating the rate of progress in the final quinquennium of the MDGs agenda, especially in the areas of increased employment and the reduction of absolute poverty;
– It recognized that the primary responsibility for the attainment of the MDGs rests with African governments. However, it also emphasised that continued strong and renewed international support for Africa would be needed. It therefore urged Development partners to deliver on their existing commitments on Official Development Assistance.

Regional partnerships

8.    The meeting discussed the key role being played by Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other regional organisations in the African institutional architecture, particularly in the areas of economic integration and peace and security:
– It welcomed efforts by the AU/NEPAD and regional institutions to better promote the coordination and harmonization of continental and regional activities and to deepen regional integration, and pledged to ensure an equally coordinated effort in cooperation on all levels;
– To energize regional integration, the meeting also noted the substantial progress being made towards promoting regional economic growth and providing regional public goods by preventing and managing conflicts, promoting democracy, good governance and human rights, and adopting macro-economic convergence policies/programmes;
– The meeting called on Africa and its development partners to continue their support for Africa’s regional programmatic initiatives, including the implementation of the AU/NEPAD African Action Plan (2010-2015), aimed at advancing regional integration.

Next steps

9.    The meeting asked the co-chairs of the Forum to communicate key messages on its behalf to the forthcoming G8, G20, AU and MDG Review Summits.

10.    In this context, the meeting emphasized the need for and importance of adequate and meaningful African participation in the emerging G20 arrangements. Looking ahead, it also emphasized the role of Africa as a future growth pole in the world economy.

11.    The 15th session of the APF will be held in Africa in the last quarter of 2010, and will review progress following the Summits above.

12.    The meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Canada for its hospitality and the excellent practical arrangements.

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