ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Against a backdrop of intense negotiations leading up to the MDGs, and within the greater context of Agenda 2063, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) will hold one of its most important Conference of Ministers at the end of March. Over 1,000 participants are expected, including some 50 ministers of Finance, Planning and Development, over 30 Central Bank governors and key leaders and thinkers from business and academia.
The Conference will tackle the theme – Implementing Agenda 2063 – Planning, Mobilizing and Financing for Development. On the occasion, the ECA will also launch its 2015 Annual Economic Report on Africa, whose main theme is industrialisation through trade.
The last two meetings which were held in Abidjan and Abuja respectively have focused on industrialisation and transformative growth. A call was made to African countries to adopt dynamic industrial policies with innovative institutions, effective processes and flexible mechanisms to transform their economies to bring about inclusive and sustainable economic and social development.
This year’s theme highlights the importance of securing finance to implement the continent’s development agenda. The financing needs of Agenda 2063 are considerable, in particular with regard to regional integration; intra-Africa trade, infrastructure etc.
This year, the ministers will focus on the role of finance and will discuss ways to put together better frameworks so that the banks and financial services play a more active role in driving the transformation agenda.
The conference will focus on domestic resource mobilisation as Africa needs not only funds but also a more effective and inclusive means of channelling funds to where they can be most effective and where the market s currently failing to reach.
This year’s meetings will also include a week of expert talks, seminars and discussions focusing on a wide variety of themes. Climate change will feature strongly and the ECA will showcase the work they have been doing on the data front to unleash a data revolution which will ultimately drive policy. This is part of the ECA’s wider mandate to provide data driven policy advice.
The Conference will also feature the inaugural lecture for the Annual Adebayo Adedeji Lecture Series, launched in Abuja in 2014. Later in the year, the much anticipated regional integration ranking will be released by the ECA. This ranking using a wide range of metrics will list countries in terms of how integration friendly they are.