Tag: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


G20, African countries explore opportunities to increase investments in Africa at Berlin conference

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, joined leaders from African countries and G20 members in Berlin on Monday to discuss opportunities to enhance the business environment and increase investment in Africa.
A common refrain on the opening day of the two-day conference – “G20 Africa Partnership – Investing in a Common Future” – hosted by Germany under its G20 Presidency was that Africa’s time has come and opportunities for investment on the continent abound.
In a session on the G20 Compact with Africa, which aims to increase investment opportunities, push for a more sustainable infrastructure as well as create jobs and employment in African countries, the Finance Ministers from Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia shared their views on opportunities for long-term stability and growth, alongside the Heads of the African Development Bank, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“The Compact with Africa is very important because of the changing lens through which we are looking at Africa,” said Adesina, who applauded German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her leadership in putting Africa at the top of the G20 agenda. “We are no longer looking at Africa through the perspective of just development. We are looking at Africa as an investment destination, and unlocking its huge potential. This is a great shift in mindset. Africa is a growth frontier.”

Adesina outlined the huge growth potential of the continent, in agriculture as a business, and in the processing of cocoa and cotton and not just exporting raw materials. “The secret of the wealth of nations is very clear: the nations that are poor are the ones that export raw materials, and the nations that are rich are the ones that actually add value. We think this is very critical to change the narrative.”

The Compact is a commitment by African countries to improve conditions for private investment. In cooperation with international organisations and bilateral partners, the participating African countries will develop tailor-made measures and instruments designed to make them more attractive to investors. Five countries have already committed to join: Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Rwanda. They are now being joined by Ghana and Ethiopia.

Day 1 of the G20 Africa partnership conference closed with international organisations and bilateral partners applauding Germany’s leadership and pledging their support for the Compact in the years to come.

A few hours earlier, President Adesina participated in the launch of the African Economic Outlook 2017 alongside Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Thomas Silberhorn, German Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); and Claver Gatete, Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, among other distinguished panelists.

Published by the African Development Bank, in partnership with the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the 2017 edition of the African Economic Outlook focuses on unlocking the potential of entrepreneurship for Africa’s industrialization.

The new AEO report needs to be translated into action as soon as possible, said Adesina, who underscored the importance of securing a future for African youth.
“We want an Africa that is able to grow fast, that is able to create quality jobs, that is able to create hope for the young people on the continent, supported by investments to be able to turn their dreams into reality,” he said. “I don’t believe the future of Africa lies in Europe. I don’t believe that the future of Africa lies at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea either.
“Let’s work together to make Africa blossom. It’s in the interest of the world for this to happen for Africa.”

World’s most marginalized still left behind by global development priorities: UNDP report

Millions of people are not benefiting from progress, with the gap set to widen unless deep-rooted development barriers, including discrimination and unequal political participation, are tackled.

A quarter-century of impressive human development progress continues to leave many people behind, with systemic, often unmeasured, barriers to catching up. A stronger focus on those excluded and on actions to dismantle these barriers is urgently needed to ensure sustainable human development for all.

These are the findings of the Human Development Report 2016, entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The report finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live in low levels of human development, as measured by the Human Development Index.

“Leaving no one behind needs to become the way we operate as a global community. In order to overcome the barriers that hamper both human development and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, inclusiveness must guide policy choices,” said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, speaking at the launch of the report in Stockholm today, alongside UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the report’s lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office, Selim Jahan.

“The world has come a long way in rolling back extreme poverty, in improving access to education, health and sanitation, and in expanding possibilities for women and girls,” said Helen Clark. “But those gains are a prelude to the next, possibly tougher challenge, to ensure the benefits of global progress reach everyone.”

This is a concern in developed countries too, where poverty and exclusion are also a challenge, with over 300 million people – including more than one-third of all children – living in relative poverty.

Left behind and unable to catch up: systemic discrimination against women, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, among others

The report notes that not only are deprivations high, but disadvantages disproportionately affect some groups.

“We place too much attention on national averages, which often mask enormous variations in people’s lives,” stated Selim Jahan. “In order to advance, we need to examine more closely not just what has been achieved, but also who has been excluded and why.”

The report shows that in almost every country, several groups face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce each other, increasing vulnerability, widening the progress gap across generations, and making it harder to catch up as the world moves on.

Women and girls, rural dwellers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and the LGBTI community are among those systematically excluded by barriers that are not purely economic, but political, social and cultural as well.

In the case of women, the largest of these groups, the report notes that while global gender disparities are narrowing slowly, longstanding patters of exclusion and lack of empowerment for women and girls remain pressing challenges.

Women tend to be poorer, earn less, and have fewer opportunities in most aspects of life than men. In 100 countries, women are legally excluded from some jobs because of their gender, and in 18 countries, women need their husband’s approval to work. Dangerous practices like female genital mutilation and forced marriage continue.

Populations living in rural areas also face multiple barriers. For instance, children from poor rural households attending school are less likely to be learning reading, writing and mathematics.

Moreover, migrants and refugees often face barriers to work, education and political participation and more than 250 million people in the world face discrimination on the basis of their ethnicity, the report notes among other examples.

It is time to face up to deep-rooted barriers to development

“By eliminating deep, persistent, discriminatory social norms and laws, and addressing the unequal access to political participation, which have hindered progress for so many, poverty can be eradicated and a peaceful, just, and sustainable development can be achieved for all,” Helen Clark said.

Marginalized groups often have limited opportunities to influence the institutions and policies that determine their lives. Changing this is central to breaking the vicious circle of exclusion and deprivation.

For example, indigenous peoples account for five percent of the world’s population, but 15 percent of people living in poverty. And members of the LGBTI community cannot actively advocate for their rights when same-sex acts between men are illegal in more than 70 countries.

The report calls for far greater attention to empowering the most marginalized in society, and recognizes the importance of giving them greater voice in decision-making processes.

The report also calls for a more refined analysis to inform actions, including making a shift toward assessing progress in such areas as participation and autonomy. Key data, disaggregated for characteristics such as place, gender, socioeconomic status and ethnicity, is vital to know who is being left behind.

Moreover, the report warns, key development metrics can overstate progress when they focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of development. For instance, girls’ enrolment in primary education has increased, but in half of 53 developing countries with data, the majority of adult women who completed four to six years of primary school are illiterate.

Human development for everyone is attainable

“Despite progress gaps, universal human development is attainable,” said Selim Jahan. “Over the last decades, we have witnessed achievements in human development that were once thought impossible.”

Since 1990, one billion people have escaped extreme poverty, and women’s empowerment has become a mainstream issue: while as recently as the 1990s, very few countries legally protected women from domestic violence, today, 127 countries do.

The report stresses the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to build on these gains, noting that the agenda and human development approach are mutually reinforcing.

The report includes recommendations to reorient policies to ensure progress reaches those furthest behind, and urges reforms of global markets and global institutions to make them more equitable and representative.