African countries have agreed on a new plan to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), insisting that future plans to combat poverty must look beyond foreign aid and focus on rapid economic growth to stop millions from falling back into poverty.
African Union (AU) Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Anthony Maruping, said the new plan to replace the MDGs focuses on alternative financing and how to raise funds from the private sector.
“The MDGs had insufficient consultations. They were reliant on the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) but the goals were to improve the human development,” Maruping said.
He warned of risk that the ODA could suffer donor fatigue. To maintain the achievements of the MDGs, there have to be strong growths to stop maintain the human development status.
Sources at the Ethiopian ministry for Economic Affairs said the MDGs were useful because they helped to mobilise the international efforts to address poverty in Africa.
“They gave specific targets on poverty. They gave a reference to measure progress. The African countries stepped up efforts and made significant progress on the goals,” the sources said.
African leaders formed a panel of 10 leaders to kick-start preparations for an African common position on the post-MDGs.
The panel is led by Liberian President, Helen Johnson-Sirleaf, and is made up of the leaders of nine other countries, including Ethiopia, Algeria and South Africa.
The Post-2015 is focused on raising private capital to help meet some of Africa’s development needs.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has undertaken efforts to raise funds for Africa as part of its Africa 50 plus. AU officials say the common plan for post-2015 is just a framework to start with.
“This is a framework. There is flexibility which would allow us to lead into an action plan. We would develop a programme of action which would then be adopted by the countries of Africa,” the AU Commissioner told journalists after talks on the new development agenda.
Djamel-Eddine Grine, Algeria’s foreign ministry advisor, who represents the Algerian President at the Panel, said by agreeing on a common plan, African countries have set the stage for the real talks.
“We have set the bar too high. It is for our voices to be heard. We have to take the lead. In six months, Africa has become the first continent in the world to have a common position. We are ready to be taken seriously. We should underline these positions at the national level and touch upon every level of society. It is not a position disconnected from reality,” Grine said.
Jeremiah Mamabolo, South African Ambassador to UN, said the steps taken towards a post-2015 plan were an extension of the MDGs. “We will hold countries accountable to their pledges and promises,” Mamabolo said.
The Beyond 2015 plan seeks clear plans to fight poverty, making it a new part of the new development agenda.
It also seeks commitments to empower women, vulnerable groups, disabled and children, and to eliminate gender-based imbalances on wages, eradicating traditional practices such as circumcision of women and implementing aspects of the MDGs which have not been achieved.