The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says it will continue to work with partners, including the African Union Commission (AUC), in pursuit of sustainable development on the continent.
Mr Said Adejumobi, Director, Strategic Planning, Oversight and Results Division, stated this on Thursday while presenting the Report of the Executive Secretary on the ECA’s activities from April 2020 to March 2021.
He was speaking at the 39th ECA Committee of Experts of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, holding in Ethiopia.
Adejumobi said providing leadership in knowledge-driven strategies to address key development issues in Africa was of utmost importance to the think tank.
His report highlighted ECA’s key achievements, among them the commission’s role in working with partners such as the AUC, the African Development Bank (AfDB), NEPAD and the private sector to launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The achievements also included support for Africa’s coordinated and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Adejumobi, ECA has coordinated regional action and advocacy for global support for Africa with weekly COVID-19 meetings with key stakeholders; and periodic meetings with African Finance Ministers.
He noted that the advocacy efforts resulted in savings of US$5 billion under Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
“The think tank has focused on ensuring that African countries have adequate resources to respond to the deadly pandemic, with calls for extra financial liquidity amounting to $500 billion, Adejumobi said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is through Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), policy support actions, better market access, more concessional resources and an extension of the DSSI to the end of 2022.
“Also of importance is the Africa Knowledge Management Hub on COVID-19 and the African Medical Supplies Platform, which has seen 149 buyers engaging since its launch and 198 shipments with orders totalling $193 million global market value in the pipeline.
“The ECA is also conducting a study on poverty in relation to COVID-19,” Adejumobi told delegates attending the hybrid meeting.
He said that besides providing support for a coordinated and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECA had enhanced operational modalities for impactful delivery.
Adejumobi added that the UN agency was implementing UN regional reform; and promoting the digital and data revolution in Africa.
“In addition to supporting the implementation of the AfCFTA in member states, the ECA has also been working with the private sector and countries on infrastructure development, innovative financing and related sub-regional interventions,” he said.
In response to the presentation, representatives of the member-states lauded the ECA for the work it is doing in supporting African countries.
They called for more capacity development programmes by the body, in particular on digitalization, e-commerce and related tech issues.
NAN reports that the meeting is being held under the theme: Africa’s sustainable industrialization and diversification in the digital era in the context of COVID-19. (NAN)