African countries are demanding access to the US$78.8 trillion worth of assets and pension funds to help grow local economies to accelerate the fight against poverty, top UN and AU officials told PANA Thursday.
“The African countries need assistance to get to where they need,” said Amina Mohammed, the UN Special Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Planning – a step geared towards replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
African countries have been at the forefront in pushing for a new set of goals to help fight rampant poverty in Africa, which appears to elude the MDGs.
“We need an enabling environment and the incentives to come up with the new set of goals. We need commitments to allow us access the private equity funds and the pension funds to fight poverty,” Mohammed told PANA.
The world’s richest countries, including the 15 original members of the European Union (EU) and seven others, agreed to contribute 0.7% of national wealth or at least US$75-150 per person in the world’s poorest countries to fight poverty.
“The MDGs were done in a hurry but they were very noble goals and they have contributed to accelerating social issues like education, health and other aspects,” Anthony Maruping, the African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs, told PANA.
“There is an issue of sustainability,” Maruping said, referring to the need by African countries to put economic growth as the platform to fight poverty and not donor funds.
“They (MDGs) largely depended on donor funding. The question is how long will donor funding sustain these efforts. The donors have to exit at some point, that is why we insist on Sustainable Development Goals,” Maruping said.
The AU set up the High Level Heads of State Committee in 2013, to work towards an African common position on the post 2015 agenda. The Committee is chaired by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is hosting an expert meeting 21-23 Aug. to discuss accountability mechanisms for the Post 2015. The accountability mechanism will make it easier to follow up on the commitments made to fight poverty.
Maruping said the new set of goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), should be based on strong economic growth and not aid.
“The idea is more about the economy,” Maruping said. “The economy can support the achievements made in the eradication of poverty after the donors have left. We are insisting that the advances should be maintained. We need an economy to support these goals,” the AU official told PANA.