African Leaders Meet to Plan Actions for Sustainable Growth

26 March 2012: The Fifth Joint Meeting of the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development met to address a broad range of issues related to development under the theme "Unleashing Africa's Potential as a Pole of Global Growth."

During the meeting, which took place from 22-27 March 2012, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, leaders considered, inter alia: the promotion of science, technology and innovation for development in Africa; regional integration; progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa; the development of a post-2015 MDGs agenda; financing a programme for infrastructure development; the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP); the impact of the European debt crisis; and a review of the Durban Climate Change Conference.

Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development  (IFAD) stressed the importance of investment in agriculture to achieve the MGDs, noting mixed progress to date in achieving the goals. He stressed that investments in agriculture are more effective than investments in any other sector as a means to lift people out of poverty. He underscored IFAD's experience of promoting agriculture as a business and the challenge of building the capacity of smallholders to run viable rural businesses. Nwanze also noted the impacts of climate change on African landscapes and the need to build the capacity of African smallholders to adapt to severe weather and changing climatic trends. IFAD presented a vision that ensures smallholder farmers are at the center of any plan for post-2015 development activities.

On climate change, Ministers also carried out a review of agreements and outstanding issues emerging from the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which took place in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011. Participants discussed Africa's position going into Durban, as well as key COP 17 outcomes, including the adoption of the Durban Platform; agreement on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; the Green Climate Fund, developed countries' mitigation commitments and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs), REDD+, and the Adaptation Committee. [IFAD Press Release] [UN Press Release]  [Fifth Join Meeting of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development]