bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 18 — 11 November 2011
Africa Progress Panel
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Powerless at the top of the Summit?
It is reassuring to see that, in the depth of the financial crisis, development has not been overlooked by the G20. The Seoul Consensus set the stage for development in 2010. At the Cannes Summit there was a feeling that development had become more established as part of the agenda of the G20. Most of the items discussed during the G20 - development finance, agriculture, commodity price volatility, infrastructure – bare a particular importance for the African continent. However, the Summit fell short on delivering for Africa. This was a major oversight for two key reasons:
First, global economies are interconnected. There is a wide recognition that Africa’s prosperity is dependent on Europe and vice versa. Hence, aid should no longer been seen as charity. As ONE's director Adrian Lovett noted, the G20, "…failed to recognize that investing in Africa is a big part of the solution to the global economic crisis". The continent of Africa has huge potential to make a greater contribution to the global economy through greater investments to promote diversification and infrastructure. Furthermore, Africa has a vibrant and growing middle class that is similar in size to the middle classes of India and China. According to The Economist, middle class of Africa is, “sucking in consumer goods”(The Economist, 25 October 2011).
However, only short-term solutions were discussed last week and no clear steps were taken to stabilize and regulate the global economy. Global economic governance remains a challenge; social unrest abounds with widespread frustration and anger over the continuing lack of transparency and greed of bankers; and global imbalances continue to create greater long-term instability.
Second, earlier promises made in Gleneagles and L’Aquila must be monitored and accelerated. It was excellent that G20 leaders acknowledged the importance of ODA as well as the need to look for other sources of financing. Gate’s report was rightly very well received. However, discussions on innovative financing, such as the Financial Transaction Tax and a fair maritime bunker fuel levy, lasted less than an hour and led to no clear agreement. The burning debate on saving the euro zone superseded interest in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Today's Indignados and those who Occupy Wall Street are sending a clear message to Global Leaders - that the era of glorified self-interests, in which the rich get richer and the poor poorer, should become something from the past. By paying more than lip service to the development of Africa, G20 Leaders could have shown that they have heard the global call for more solidarity, equity, and social justice. Maybe this will happen in Mexico?
- A Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda emerged victorious in the Arab Spring's first elections, taking 90 of 217 seats on a new assembly that will rewrite the constitution, appoint a president and form a caretaker government. While the Islamist party addresses the challenges facing them, many wonder how Western political leaders, long prone to influence by Islamophobic voices, will respond.
- Liberians went to polls to choose the country's president, defying a candidate's call for a boycott which has sparked violent protests and inflamed divisions in the West African republic. Responses to the election result will pose the latest test for African democracy as a string of elections this year have devolved into violence, where candidates and their supporters differed over results.
- Egyptian election scheduled for 28 November is the first parliamentary vote after the popular uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Ending decades of a one-party rule, the elections are expected to establish a parliament to draft a new constitution which will shape the country’s future if approved. But analysts express worry over the complex election system, saying the ‘next parliament will not reflect the new political realities created by the revolution’ because the people are likely to vote for the people and power they were used to voting for in the past.
- Northern Nigeria experience deadly attacks from its homegrown Boko Haram sect, a group of Islamist extremists that want strict imposition of Sharia (Islamic law) in northern areas. Experts urge careful response to the violence warning that a clumsy reaction could lead to more violence; while, recommending that the government do more to address the issues of poverty and corruption that led to the rise of the extremists and local support for them.
- AfDB and top Silicon Valley software engineering firm Zanbato Group team up to create Sokoni, the first online marketplace for infrastructure projects in Africa that increases the quality of information available to investors through better links to project sponsors and financier
- AfDB continues support for economic growth and poverty reduction in Mali with $53m
- AfDB urges investment in Africa's energy sector at high-level climate conferences
- The AU urges its member states to strengthen partnership with the media to effectively promote policies advocating for gender equality on the continent
- EAC and USA sign an agreement that will provide an additional USAID contribution of $1.6m for activities in the areas of environment, agriculture and food security
- ECOWAS calls for continuous concerted efforts by member states to address the problem of alcohol and drug use among youth
- IFAD and the Dutch Government discuss how best to support developing country governments to create stronger policies for rural development and infrastructure
- The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde warns that the global economy is at risk of being plunged into a "lost decade"
- IMF Board approves a three-Year $615.9m extended credit facility arrangement and additional interim debt relief for Côte d'Ivoire
- UNDP launches a guide aimed at helping decision makers in developing countries adapt their national public infrastructure to climate change
- Participants of the recently concluded African Economic Conference calls on Africa to invest in its renewable and clean energy resources to achieve green growth
- FAO’s "Information Products for Nile Basin Water Resource Management" project seeks to help government authorities in the Nile Basin harmonize information on agricultural water use that will support better planning and prevent future food insecurity
- World Bank and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) step up efforts to jointly combat fraud and corruption in development aid
- World Bank is providing over $6.4bn in support of programmes aimed at solving the food crisis in several countries
- The World Bank estimates that rampant corruption costs Africa between $20 to $40 billion per year
- A collaborative effort between the UNDP, the UNEP, the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute, World Resources Report 2010-2011: Decision making in a Changing Climate argues that climate change requires a different approach to decision making as governments prepare for a much hotter world.
- According to projections in the 2011 Human Development Report, development progress in the world’s poorest countries could be halted or even reversed by mid-century unless bold steps are taken now to slow climate change, prevent further environmental damage, and reduce deep inequalities within and among nations.
- New UNEP Report tracks the changing global environment that has swept the planet over the last twenty years in the run-up to next year's sustainable development meeting in Rio de Janeiro.
- A Christian Aid report ‘Low-Carbon Africa: Leapfrogging to a Green Future’ demonstrates the considerable potential Africa has to achieve the win goals of tackling poverty and the threat of climate change by pursuing a low-carbon development pathway. The report argues that it is possible to lift Africa out of energy poverty without increasing Greenhouse Gases emissions.
- According to Africa Monitor's latest Development Support Monitor, the continent is on the brink of a major development breakthrough; But, suggests that Africa is at risk of missing the current opportunity because of factors such as continued lack of participation of the poor in decisions affecting them, increasing inequality between the rich and the poor and the exclusion of grassroots communities from economic participation.
The G20 has to learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time…The fact that it takes a report from Bill Gates to get development back on the agenda speaks volumes about how the G20 needs to shift its focus in the future.
- Sam Worthington, President of the NGO Network InterAction
- Pambazuka News (Pan-Africa) G20 summit - Under the shadow of the Occupy Wall Street movement: 7 Nov. 2011 -As the global financial crisis deepens, China needs to reflect on 'what kind of international system can minimize war and break the power of the top one per cent', writes Horace Campbell. According to him, China should see the Occupy Wall Street movement ‘not as a challenge, but as an asset in the fight for social justice and democracy internationally.’
- The Washington Post: Bill Gates’s plan to assist the world’s poor, 2 Nov. 2011 - Bill Gates advises leaders of the Group of 20 governments on how to continue to invest in development despite the economic crises sweeping the world. He recommends ways to mobilize tens of billions of dollars annually from private sources, as well as to tap into the $50 billion in savings among the African diaspora to help fund development in their home countries.
- IPS News: Better Aid means better development, 1 Nov. 2011 - Brian Atwood, Chair of the OECD’s DAC and Jeremy Hobbs of Oxfam share the same fear that, ‘The world will miss an important opportunity to fix what is wrong’ therefore, appealing for, ‘…more sanity in global development cooperation,’ to ensure that effective aid lifts people out of poverty.
- Mail and Guardian: Giving is key to Africa's wellbeing, 29 Oct. 2011 - Dr Bhekinkosi Moyo, programme director at TrustAfrica calls for a new way of practicing philanthropy in Africa; he urges high net-worth individuals to forge a partnership with governments and the business sector to address pressing developmental challenges on the continent.
- The Group of 20 (G20) Leader's Summit in Cannes concluded with the adoption of a declaration that addresses energy markets, green growth, and climate change, among other issues
- Brazil launches a center of excellence aimed to develop technical cooperation capacities in African, Latin American and Asian countries as well as to disseminate good practices in combating hunger
- China pledges to provide new loans to help developing countries improve infrastructure
- China seeks to attract more investors to its China-Africa Development (CAD) fund, the country's biggest equity fund focused on African investments
- EU finance ministers sign off on about €7 billion (6 billion pounds) in short-term funding to help developing countries adapt to climate change
- The EU pledges new funding for the Global Partnership for Education, to improve basic education in over 46 developing countries
- Together with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Germany develops an online tool - ‘Egypt Electionnaire’ which aims to encourage popular participation in Egypt political debate
- South African government steps up efforts to ensure that the SA public understands global warming issues and the role that communities will play in the process of adaptation to climate change
- Britain says it will increase the amount of support it provides businesses in Africa in a bid to boost economic growth and break their dependence on aid
- USAID supports South Sudan's first agricultural trade fair - designed to bring together national and international entrepreneurs to learn about opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, livestock, and forestry in the world's newest nation
In the blogs...
- World Bank’s African can end poverty Blog: Yes, Africa can end poverty… but will we know when it happens? 1 Nov. 2011 - While commenting on the quality of statistics in developing countries and highlighting the challenges faced in obtaining data, the authors argue that poverty data are based on a set of arbitrary assumptions that may lead to erroneous conclusions and should therefore not be taken at face value.
- Guardian Poverty Matters Blog: How was G20 summit for the rest of the world? 7 Nov. 2011
This blog outlines the perception of the rest of the world on the recently concluded G20 summit in Cannes. It states that reactions from the development community is mixed with praise for world leaders who promoted the Tobin tax and progress on agriculture, and frustration with inaction on debt and tax havens.
|12 Nov||Coalition for Dialogue (CoDA) discussion forum on: Two Decades of Democratic Transition in Africa:”Tunis, Tunisia|
|13-16 Nov||International Conference on Adaptation to Climate Change and Food Security in West Asia and North Africa, Kuwait (Al Kuwayt), Kuwait|
|14 Nov||AFD Conférence-débat:"L'aide au développement est-elle efficace?" Paris, France|
|15-17 Nov||8th WTO Ministerial Conference: Geneva, Switzerland|
|16-18 Nov||“Bonn 2011 Conference”: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus – Solutions for the Green Economy: Bonn, Germany|
|24-25 Nov||UNIDO LDC Ministerial Conference: Vienna, Austria|