Economist Outlines Africa’s Development Priorities

Babatunde PixWith the United Nations (UN) system and its member states looking at issues regarding development after 2015, globally, regionally and nationally, a number of priorities for Africa have emerged.

The year 2015 is significant in that it was meant to be the terminal date for the implementation of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by the UN and its member states in 2000.

It is now clear that, although great progress has been made, it is possible that not all MDGs will be met by all countries by 2015.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) South Africa office economic adviser Dr. Babatunde Omilola outlined these emerging African development priorities at a Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies seminar in Pretoria. There are seven of these priorities.

The first of these is that “Africa must emphasise inclusive economic growth and structural transformation”, he reported. “Reorienting the development paradigm away from externally driven initiatives towards domestically inspired and funded initiatives grounded in national ownership,” was the second.

The third priority was the necessity for Africa to emphasise equity and social inclusion. Listed fourth was the need to give more attention to vulnerable social groups, notably women, children, the youth, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Another priority is to note the condition of the various African countries at the start of the MDG process and to recognise the progress they have made in reaching these goals (instead of just highlighting how much they are falling short of realising the MDGs).

Listed sixth is the need to integrate various national, regional and global initiatives. These include national and regional consultations co-ordinated by the UNDP, the outputs of Africa-wide programmes and the outcomes of the 2012 Rio + 20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

Last but not the least there is a need to focus on the enablers of development, including the cultivation of local funding.

“Different countries are different with different issues and priorities,” emphasised Omilola. “We have to look at the priorities of different countries.”

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