bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 5, Issue 12 — 22 June 2012
Africa Progress Panel
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CheeRio: What next for Africa?
Twenty years after the world came together at Rio to tackle inequality, hunger and environmental destruction, we are moving in the wrong direction. The Rio+20 Earth Summit was a huge opportunity to address this backsliding. But Rio did not deliver what many had hoped. Alarmingly, many of the equity and access commitments seem to have been diluted or even have disappeared, such as the omission of reproductive rights from the final document.
Let’s forget Rio (See Kevin Watkins Blog). Here are three crucial policy messages that the world – though international cooperation – must now focus on.
First, African governments and international partners must commit to a “big push” to meet the current 2015 MDG targets and integrate them into longer-term sustainable development goals.
As outlined in our 2012 Africa Progress Report, “Jobs, Justice and Equity,” the continent continues to suffer from deep, persistent and enduring inequalities. But inequality is not just an African problem – across the world inequality is increasing and economic and political currents are reconfiguring globalization. Over the long run, inequalities undermine growth and human development, and weaken the bonds that hold societies together.
An urgent dual challenge now exists: to meet the current MDGs while defining goals beyond 2015 within a single new framework. Any post-MDG agenda (or Sustainable Development Goals, as discussed at Rio+20) must include a clear set of shared global goals and timetables that build on the current MDGs. Above all, these new goals must not become overly complex.
Second, governments must put smallholder farmers and agricultural productivity at the center of national strategies for growth and food and nutrition security, with a focus on women farmers and land rights.
Africa’s farmers face some of the gravest risks from the many failures in the global food system. Across the continent, 200 million people face food insecurity. But Rio+20 failed to agree provisions for essential investment in smallholder farmers or strengthened land rights. In the last decade, over 134 million hectares of land have been bought across Africa – an area larger than France, Germany and the UK combined often negatively affecting the most vulnerable. It is widely recognized that Africa is the worst hit by climate change. Governments in and outside the continent must fund a climate-resilient Green Revolution in Africa – not just for Africa, but also to enable Africa to become a global food basket.
Third, rich countries must deliver what they have promised
ODA is falling well short of the internationally agreed target of 0.7% of rich countries’ GNP, the $100 billion promised by 2020 in international climate finance has not been forthcoming, and development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa actually fell (by 3 per cent) for the first time ever. The recently adopted Green Climate Fund remains an empty shell. Meanwhile, agricultural support from richer countries to their own farmers in 2009 was 80 times the funding for development aid to agriculture.
There is no doubt that national budgets the world over are under intense pressure. This is why new funding mechanisms such as levies on international air transport or bunker fuel taxes are needed urgently. Our Panel Members, Kofi Annan, Michel Camdessus and Muhammad Yunus are calling for a financial transaction tax to mobilize resources for development and climate change finance.
Unjust and increasing inequalities, hunger, and environmental destruction leave many feeling that their societies are fundamentally unjust and their governments unresponsive. Political leaders may have failed at Rio+20 but across the global there is growing support for urgent collective action.
- Egypt's election commission has postponed the release of official results that were due today in a presidential election claimed by both candidates, as tension rose over who will succeed ousted president Hosni Mubarak. At the same time, the ruling military have made moves to extend their power in what many have described as a coup d'état, leaving many wondering what has happened to Egypt’s revolution.
- With parliamentary elections set for 7 July in Libya, vigorous campaign activities by political parties and individuals are under way in the country’s first national elections in more than four decades. Despite the progress that has been made thus far, with the escalation of violence and terror attacks in the country, many believe the country needs more than elections.
- Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN, Macharia Kamau, raised concerns ahead of this week’s Rio+20 summit that developed countries were planning to renege on the promises they made in the past. Environmentalists have also raised concerns, arguing that the draft document is too weak.
- The Gambia’s Fatou Bensouda was sworn in as the new ICC Chief Prosecutor last week. The news was welcomed by Gambians but many have urged her to speak out against the challenging human rights situation in her home country.
- AfDB and other multilateral development banks unite to boost spending on sustainable growth
- AfDB boosts access to low cost sustainable energy in Zambia
- AfDB invests US$18 million to help fill infrastructure finance gap in Africa
- AfDB to channel US$43 million from the Global Environment Facility to stimulate Africa’s climate resilience
- African Union urges Sudan and South Sudan to accept border proposal
- African Union seeks mandate to send troops to Mali
- UN ready to consider ECOWAS request to back Mali force
- ECOWAS Parliament assumes full legislative status
- UNICEF joins EU talks to scale up aid for the Sahel
- Sudan urges Europe to resume its economic support
- IFAD president calls for more investment in agriculture
- IFAD/FAO/WFP call upon G20 to redouble efforts to fight hunger
- IMF approves new modalities for bilateral borrowing, which will allow the Fund to significantly boost its available resources to address the global economic crisis
- Six African countries will receive a total loan and grants of $60.9m from OPEC in order to expand their socio-economic development frontiers
- UN and partners seek $1.6 billion for crisis-hit Sahel region in West Africa
- UN and partners unveil initiative to achieve sustainable urban development by promoting the efficient use of energy, water and other resources
- UN Security Council condemns recent mutiny, killing and abuse of civilians in DRC
- UN agency starts flying in emergency aid for refugees in South Sudan
- World Bank to provide safety net protection for 200,000 poor people in Guinea
- World Bank to invest $125 million in Malawi’s largest river basin
- IFC announces $35m equity investment to expand Africa’s Information and Communications Technology infrastructure
In the blogs...
- The Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog: Forget Rio+20, the right steps can bring instant and lasting development gains, 20 June 2012 – Kevin Watkins argues that rather than setting new development goals before the old ones are met, we should tackle inequality and empower the poor.
- The World Bank’s Africa Can…End Poverty Blog: What the Global Findex Database says about Africa, 18 June 2012 – The authors discuss the release of the Global Financial Inclusion Indicators and how they better enable people to understand how adults around the world (but particularly in Africa) manage their daily finances and plan for the future.
- From Poverty to Power: What kind of sustainable development goals should emerge from Rio? 15 June 2012 – Duncan Green argues that the summit must recognise that the political and economic context has altered since the millennium development goals were agreed to and that Rio+20’s sustainable development goals must reflect today’s world.
- Impatient Optimists: Strategic help for global health care, 14 June 2012 – Melinda Gates argues that although the community of donors, agencies and NGOs dedicated to better health for the poorest has access to many resources, they often fail to drive conversation and innovation that reflects the experience of those on the ground.
We had arrived Rio thinking that there would be renewed political commitment on the three pillars of sustainable development: shared economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental protection; but what we see is a systematic attempt to renegotiate even the fundamental issues of the Conference
- Ambassador Macharia Kamau, the Kenyan Ambassador to the UN and veteran of the Rio process while addressing the first meeting of the African Group at Rio+20, June 2012
- The New York Times: Africa’s hidden water wealth, 17 June 2012 – Alan MacDonald, a principle hydrogeologist at the British Geological Survey, discusses the recent discovery of large volumes of groundwater in Africa and what needs to happen in order to ensure they are managed effectively.
- CNN: Could Africa be world’s next manufacturing hub? 15 June 2012 – Hinh T. Dinh, a Lead Economist at the World Bank, discusses a recently published book that suggests there is evidence to suggest that feasible, low-cost, sharply focused policy initiatives aimed at enhancing private investment could make Africa competitive in light manufacturing.
- The Atlantic: The dilemma at the heart of America’s approach to Africa, 15 June 2012
The author questions why America would be allies with countries like Uganda and Burkina Faso with autocratic governments if, like they have repeatedly stated, they wish to prioritize democracy in Africa.
- Pambazuka News: Squeezing Africa Dry: Behind every land grab is a water grab, 13 June 2012 – In this article, GRAIN argues that hidden beneath today’s global scramble for farmland is a growing scramble for control over water.
- Daily Maverick: AU summit move: What choice did they have? 10 June 2012 – Simon Allison argues that Malawi’s refusal to invite al-Bashir to the AU summit in Malawi put the AU in a difficult position and that the AU’s subsequent move, while imperfect, was the right one.
- Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) creates new Trade Commissioner position for Accra, Ghana, as part of its broader expansion in the growth areas of West Africa
- Changes to Canada's aid package hurting developing nations, according to OECD
- Canada-Ethiopia trade could soar with new direct flight from Toronto
- French investors see potential in Tanzania, according to French diplomat, Elizabeth Barbie
- France wants European solution to Sahel crisis
- Ghana is selected to benefit from HSBC’s $100 million water programme, which aims to help transform the lives of more than 1 million people through providing access to safe water
- Britain to provide a further £5.4 million of funding to help 200,000 people suffering from the food crisis in West Africa
- UNCTAD’s “2012 Economic Development in Africa Report” calls for structural transformation towards sustainable development in Africa. The report suggests that the dilemma between structural transformation for growth and increasing environmental impacts can be resolved through sustainable structural transformation.
- Since 1990, annual maternal deaths have declined by almost one half and the deaths of young children have declined from 12 million to 7.6 million in 2010, according to the Countdown to 2015 report entitled “Building a Future for Women and Children.” It states that the rates of child mortality in many African countries have been dropping twice as fast in recent years as during the 1990s.
- UNHCR’s Global Trends 2011 report shows 2011 to have been a record year for forced displacement across borders, with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000.
- A new report from the African Development Bank, Jobs, Justice and the Arab Spring: Inclusive Growth in North Africa, analyses the causes of the various political events in 2011 in various North African countries. It also suggests various policies for policy makers in the countries under transition.
- EAC trade competitiveness better, according to new report. The study, Progress towards sustainable development in Eastern Africa, acknowledges the progress made in Eastern Africa in deepening regional integration within Regional Economic Communities such as the EAC and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
- A MasterCard index identifies Durban as the city that will grow its tourist market the fastest in Africa this year, in terms of visitor numbers and expenditure.
|18 June- 6 July||Human Rights Council, 20th Session : Geneva, Switzerland|
|25-26 June||Measuring the Economic Impact of ICTs: Policy Drivers and Economic Evidence, final conference of the ICTNET/International Research Network on the Economic Impact of ICTs: Paris, France|
|27-29 June||6th OECD Forum on African Public Debt Management: Midrand, South Africa|
|2-7 July||UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty: New York, U.S.A|
|4-13 July||ITU Council 2012: Geneva, Switzerland|
|7 July||Libya Parliamentary Elections|