Dear Friends of the APP,
It is with excitement and optimism that I write to you to introduce myself, share some initial thoughts and invite you to send us your feedback, comments, and ideas on how we could better meet our goals.
This first month started with a very engaging meeting in New Delhi, convened by the Gates Foundation, for its grantees worldwide. We had the opportunity to connect with a broad range of key partners working on the same issues as us: promoting development and advocating for mutual accountability and shared responsibility. The meeting focused on reframing development advocacy in the wake of a rapidly changing global context.
The financial crisis has undoubtedly affected development assistance commitments from traditional donors. At the same time, the new actors of the G20 are building bilateral development agendas. At the APP, we aim to continue pressuring governments, both rich and poor, to live up to their promises. We will also continue to promote the importance of securing Africa’s voice in key international fora, such as the G8 and G20. As the G20 grows in prominence, we note that it is more representative than the G8. However, while the G20 constitutes 65% of the world’s population Africa remains underrepresented. As always, we welcome ideas and look forward to collaborating with other organizations on increasing Africa’s voice and representation.
The other key area where the APP is very active is that of climate change and climate change finance. This complex picture involves multiple intersecting layers of politics, finance, and justice. We went to the African Dialogue on Climate Change Finance and Development Effectiveness in Nairobi on 21 – 23 September, which was mainly attended by African government officials from ministries of finance, planning and environment. This gave us an opportunity to get a sense of the current debate and define the core issues and blockages.
Without doubt there is a great degree of frustration about the lack of access to climate change financing, which is fragmented, complex and confusing (there are over 25 existing funds most of which are very small and have not received the funding that was pledged). In line with the “polluter pays” principle and the fact that the overall thrust in African countries will be on adaptation, and not on mitigation, participants called for resources to be provided largely through concessional financing mostly in the form of grants as oppose to loans. As one participant noted, “You cannot burn someone’s house and then give them a loan to rebuild it, “referring to the need for grants. The APP will continue to focus on climate change to help unlock these blockages and catalyze action. Our mission in the run-up to international negotiations on climate change, the COP17, in Durban will be to engage where we can add the most value.
As for me, I am joining the APP from the World Bank where I focused on social development, macroeconomics, poverty analysis, fragility and conflict. (More on my background can be found on the press release on our website). I am honored to have the opportunity to work closely with our Chair, Kofi Annan, and our distinguished panel members to promote progress in Africa. I am equally excited about engaging the APP with partners, supporters and friends in Africa. This is why your opinions and ideas are needed. If you think the APP can help shine a light on an issue that needs more attention, let us know. If you would like to share suggestions for our newsletter, upcoming Africa Progress Report, or website, please do.
But more importantly, please take this message as an open invitation to send us your thoughts on what the main challenges are for Africa. The APP Secretariat will take these issues up to the Panel. With everyone’s input, we want the APP to help voice genuine concerns and solutions for Africa and highlight the issues that need to be raised in a timely manner.
I look forward to hearing from you.