bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 5, Issue 10 — 29 May 2012
Africa Progress Panel
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Balancing the narrative on Africa
The 2012 Africa Progress Report, ‘Jobs, Justice and Equity: Seizing opportunities in times of global change’, frames a new narrative on Africa, which balances the extreme pessimism surrounding Africa a decade ago against the current wave of blinkered optimism. At the launch of the report two weeks ago at the World Economic Forum in Addis, Africa Progress Panel Chair, Kofi Annan, acknowledged both sides of this balance sheet in introducing the new report. Mr. Annan noted that Africa is making remarkable progress on growth, human development, and democracy. Innovation, creativity and energy are sweeping though the continent, he added. However, Mr. Annan also stressed, “We cannot talk of growth when millions of people are left behind. We need equal opportunities for everyone in our population”.
The call for Jobs, Justice and Equity in the 2012 report has resounded widely among African leadership, institutions and the private sector. “We should not confuse economic growth with economic transformation,” cautioned President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka at the WEF opening plenary in Addis on 10 May, 2012.
The overwhelming interest in the Africa Progress Report 2012 by African policy makers, international development partners and the global media should come as no surprise, given the timeliness and relevance of the themes in the report, including the call for a focus on equitable growth, smallholder farming and the need to reduce land grabs across the continent, meeting the MDG targets and setting MDG equity goals, and improving leadership and governance in the public and private sector globally.
The 2012 Report’s call to place smallholder farmers and agriculture productivity at the centre of national food security and nutrition was underscored by UNDP’s first ever Human Development Report for Africa, titled “Towards a Food Secure Future”, and unveiled three days after the APR launch. Since then, the G8 has announced new commitments for sustainable agriculture investments in Africa through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative. The initiative includes previous commitments made under the l’Aquila agreement. However, it remains to be seen how additional resources will be mobilised and the APP calls for greater transparency in such commitments. The APP will be following this process through an on-going global dialogue on the themes raised in 2012 APR.
The report’s key message that ethically indefensible and economically unsustainable inequalities slow down Africa’s development progress and create political destabilisation, has been picked up widely by a range of media outlets including the Guardian UK, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, This is Africa, the Mail and Guardian and the Oxfam blog From Poverty to Power , among others.
Full coverage of the 2012 APR launch, the report itself and related documents can be viewed on the APP website at http://www.africaprogresspanel.org/. Follow discussion of the report on Twitter (#apr2012) and on the APP Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/africaprogresspanel.
*APP bi-weekly editorial as featured on allafrica.com.
Africa Progress Report 2012
- The Africa Progress Report launched in Addis Ababa on 11 May by Kofi Annan, Olusegun Obasanjo, Tidjane Thiam, Peter Eigen and Bob Geldof provides an overview of the progress Africa has made over the past year, and recommends a series of policy choices and actions for African policy makers as well as vested international partners and civil society organizations. The report focuses on three critical ingredients necessary to ensure sustained and inclusive growth on the continent – jobs, justice and equity. The full report and graphics are published in English and available for download on www.africaprogresspanel.org. The French versions will follow soon. If you have any questions, please write to email@example.com.
Selected policy actions from the APR
- African governments should develop action plans for a “big push” towards the 2015 MDG targets, including goals for narrowing social disparities linked to wealth, gender, rural/urban divides and in other areas such as child survival, nutrition, maternal health, water and sanitation, and education. They should develop economic growth policies that reduce poverty by reducing income inequality.
- Smallholder farmers and agriculture productivity should be put at the centre of national food security and nutrition strategies, with a focus on women farmers.
- Develop equitable education strategies that expand early childhood care and education by 2015.
- African regional institutions should take the lead in consolidating democracy and promoting good governance. Strengthen transparency and accountability in politics and economic management, as well as promote Africa’s global position and voice.
- Make employment creation an explicit objective of economic policy: provide a supportive environment for the four major sources of employment.
- All development partners should implement their promises to Africa and support a “big push” to maximize achievement of the MDGs.
- AfDB approves an equity investment of $100 million to Agvance Africa, the first agribusiness-focused Fund on the African continent
- AfBD extends $250 million loan to “Office Cherifien des Phosphates” in Morocco (article in French)
- U.S. marines train African Union troops to fight Somalia's Al Shabab
- African Union says it will not prevent Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir from attending summit in July
- ECOWAS budgets $15 million to finance humanitarian aid for refugees and internally displaced persons
- ECOWAS says it is ready to deploy troops into Mali and Guinea Bissau
- EU hosts dialogue on EAC integration in Dar es Salaam
- EU interim trade agreement with southern African states enters into force
- EU carries out airstrikes on Somali pirates for the first time in an escalated use of force against piracy threatening oil shipments that pass the Horn of Africa
- UN humanitarian official praises Ethiopia’s efforts on food security amid drought
- UN relief official calls for sustained aid and livelihood support in Somalia
- The Board of Directors of the World Bank approves $50 million to Ghana, in the form of budget support for the implementation of the country’s Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan, METASIP
- World Bank approves $600 million loans for Kenyan projects
- World Bank to help improve public works and urban management in Burundi with an International Development Association (IDA) grant of $15 million
Selected media coverage of the report
- APP members: Kofi Annan, Olusegun Obasanjo, Tidjane Thiam, Bob Geldof and Peter Eigen led the Africa Progress Report Press Conference -Press release. The launch of the Africa Progress Report 2012 in Addis Ababa has generated extensive interest and already stimulated a debate amongst a wide range of stakeholders. It has so far generated extensive print and online coverage globally.
- allAfrica.com - Keeping pace with change - 11 May 2012
- Les Afriques –Afrique : les inégalités, une menace pour la croissance économique – 11 May 2012
- Mail and Guardian - No longer the hopeless continent -11 May 2012
- Wall Street Journal- Africa growth isn’t meeting needs of the young poor - 11 May 2012
- Shangai Daily - Annan calls on African countries to focus on creating more jobs for young - 11 May 2012
- ITV - G8 leaders aren't as rich, but must still help Africa- 15 May 2012
- Leadership – Annan, African leaders warn of growing inequality -18 May 2012
- BBC Radio 5 - Geldof: There’s real progress in Africa -24 May 2012
- #Africa moving forward! @BTC_Belgium welcomes progresses in excellent new report @africaprogress - Belgium Development Agency
- @BBCAndrewH the Africa progress Panel report walks an interesting line between the optimists and pessimists. About right I think. – Justin Forsyth, CEO, Save the Children Justin Forsyth
- I missed the launch of the Africa Progress Report in Addis Ababa yesterday, but I will most certainly read it. – Carl Bilt, Swedish Foreign Minister
- Mmegi: Raising the leadership bar holds the key to Africa’s transformation, 22 May 2012 – Africa Progress Panel Members Linah Mohohlo and President Olusegun Obasanjo call on African leaders to intensify their focus on improving governance, deepening efforts to embed a culture of political pluralism, and taking the concerns and aspirations of its citizens seriously.
- Huffington Post: Obama Emphasizes Growth Over Austerity To Tackle World Economic Woes, 20 May 2012 - This article provides an overview of the recently concluded G8 summit and notes President Obama's emphasis on promoting growth and job creation.
- The Daily Maverick: The tortoise and the hare: How African economies withstand the financial crisis, 15 May 2012 – The author discusses the IMF’s latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa and compares the continent’s growth to the fable of the tortoise and the hare.
- The Economist: Jeffrey Sachs and the millennium villages: Millennium bugs, 14 May 2012 – The author discusses the challenges facing the Millennium Villages Project and the latest dispute surrounding it.
- The New York Times: Africa and the power of the pivot, 14 May 2012 – Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, discusses the importance of “pivot states”, which he describes as states that have been able to avoid dependence for security and prosperity on a single dominant ally by having the flexibility to pivot among various potential partners.
- This is Africa: WEF Africa 2012: Africa’s growth must become more inclusive, 3 May 2012 - Wherever you go in the world, increasing inequality and lack of opportunities are growing causes of anger and concern, writes Kofi Annan.
We cannot talk of growth when millions of people are left behind... We need equal opportunities for everyone in our population.
- Kofi Annan during the WEF opening plenary session
- G8 leaders pledge to lift millions of Africans out of poverty by promoting investments in sustainable agriculture
- China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) to enter into partnerships with agriculture development banks in Africa to increase agriculture investment in the continent
- Absa bank launches Yuan/Rand trade amid a boom in Chinese investment in Africa
- New French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, wants equal partnership with Africa
- French billionaire, Vincent Bollore, to invest $100 million in Cameroonian rail project
- Germany and South Africa commit to strengthen partnership in strategic areas
- Germany promises to provide more help to Sierra Leone
- India boosts presence in West Africa with increased trade across sectors and cooperation in various other fields
- Joint study group set up to examine feasibility of an India-Africa Free Trade Agreement
- Japan announces an additional $1 billion to promote Africa’s economic growth led by the private sector
- The UK Department for International Development launches two-week tactical training course for Ghanaian police
- Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, reopens British Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire
- UNDP’s “Africa Human Development Report 2012: Towards a Food Secure Future” argues that Sub-Saharan Africa can extricate itself from pervasive food insecurity by acting on four critical drivers of change.
- Despite difficult external conditions, output in sub-Saharan Africa grew by 5 percent last year, according to IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
- The 2012 Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness in Africa: Promise & Performance Report by UNECA and the OECD addresses how far commitments made by African countries and its development partners have been delivered, and whether they have produced the expected results. It also outlines key future policy priorities for all stakeholders.
|29 May - 15 June||60th session of OHCHR Committee on the Rights of Child: Geneva, Switzerland|
|30 May – 1 June||UNESCO Conference 2012: on Labour Rights as Human Rights? Migration, Labour Market Restructuring, and the Role of Civil Society in Global Governance: Norrkoping, Sweden|
|30 May - 15 June||101st International Labour Conference: Geneva, Switzerland|
|1-3 June||World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|16 June||Egypt Presidential Elections (2nd round)|
|18-19 June||G20 Summit: Los Cabos, Mexico|