Growth is key to African development says Brown

NEPAD Africa can become a new source of dynamism in the global economy if it bases its poverty reduction strategies on continuous and sustained growth, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, said in Kampala.

Making his first major speech since leaving office, Mr. Brown used the 23rd New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) meeting at the 15th African Union (AU) Summit in Kampala, Uganda to call on Africa to become a driver of global economic growth over the next three decades.

He said there was a need for “a new philosophy of development” for Africa – an approach that that takes into consideration both ‘aid’ and ‘growth’. So we as donors need to need to broaden our focus to include all those investments which enable African entrepreneurs to succeed and the market to do its job”, he added.

This being the first HSGOC meeting since the landmark 14th AU Summit Decision on the establishment of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency), the African Heads of State in attendance at the meeting discussed the progress on the transition process of the NEPAD Agency following the integration of NEPAD into the AU.

Speaking on progress made on the integration of NEPAD Agency into the structure and processes of the AU, Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), said the NEPAD Agency was already operating as a ‘technical body’ of the AU.

“The Agency has started to provide technical support to the Commission for high level processes such as the G8 and G20 Summits. It has also taken the lead on the follow-up of commitments made at these events”, said Dr. Ping.

In June this year the AUC and the NEPAD Agency collaborated in the preparation of the independent assessment of G8 commitments.

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency briefed the African leaders on the activity report of the Agency for February to June 2010, stressing that the Agency had worked hard to adopt the AU rules and regulations on key issues such as finance and human resources. He said that the strategic direction of the NEPAD Agency was based on Agriculture and Food Security; Climate Change and Natural Resource Management; Regional Integration and Infrastructure; Human Development, Economic and Corporate Governance; as well as the crosscutting issues of gender and capacity development.

In response, the African leaders called upon the NEPAD Agency to finalise the ongoing institutional work on the integration process of the NEPAD Agency so that focus can be directed towards delivery and the implementation of its projects and programmes.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Canada, Mr. Peter Kent, also briefed the African leaders on the outcomes of the G8 and G20 Summits of June 2010. He said that through the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Muskoka Initiative, the G8 and African leaders had mobilized $7.3 billion, but that another $10 billion was required between 2010 and 2015.

The 15th AU Summit was being held under the theme of ‘Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa’.

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