Regional organisations/platforms missing link between Post-2015 Agenda and countries

Date published on source: 
20 July 2015
Source organisation: 

Addis Ababa: “Most of Africa’s development challenges do not have optimum national solutions, but regional solutions,” CEO of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, noted during a side-event on Monday at the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event was organised by the NEPAD Agency, Government of Bangladesh, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and held under the auspices of the Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness (APDev).

Dr Mayaki emphasised that Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) already have a wealth of experience in mobilising resources, creating common markets and boosting intra-African trade. Strong regional cooperation and “coherency of national, regional and continental plans” would be necessary to effectively finance and implement the post-2015 development agenda, he said.

The aim of the event was to address the missing link between the Post-2015 Development Agenda – still being negotiated – and implementation of national development priorities.

The CEO highlighted that many African economies are small, thus, often rely on regional benefits for economic growth and development. He mentioned the example of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), with the main aim to build mutually beneficially infrastructure and the Africa50 Fund as a specialised financial tool to address specific market challenges for financing these projects.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would also require new partnerships that would place stronger focus on South-South Cooperation. Regional Platforms such APDev could scale up proven approaches and knowledge sharing among and between developing countries, Dr Mayaki underscored.

The side event showcased how development partners, governments, and regional organisations are already working together to help align financing mechanisms with national development goals. It highlighted approaches such as Development Finance Assessments, which provide planning and finance ministries with data and analysis on the changing trends in development finance, and allowed discussion of how regional platforms can play a role in the future implementation of the Addis Ababa Accord.

These platforms such as the Bangladesh-led Asia Pacific Development Effectiveness Facility (AP-DEF), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), and NEPAD’s Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness (APDev) can ensure that country innovations and good practices on managing finance can be shared across countries. They can also help highlight barriers and constraints at country level which can in turn inform monitoring and implementation of international commitment, such as the post-2015 development agenda.

Harare:  I am humbled to address you on the critical and pressing matter on capacity development and institutional transformation of Africa’s regional economic communities, which are the “building blocks” of the African Union. The matter is at the centre of the quest for impactful and sustainable results from regional integration efforts. Evidently, the capacity interventions deployed over the years have been largely fragmented and reactive rather than well planned and strategised initiatives to respond to the development needs and challenges.

Whereas there have been a number of initiatives to enhance capacities of RECs to deliver on their mandate, to contribute to the African continental agenda and harness Africa’s potential, it is worth noting that not much attention has been paid to the coherence and linkage requirements. This approach has not created an enabling environment, where the different institutions, especially regional communities, can deliver effectively and efficiently, in a co-ordinated manner with synergies. Therefore, the capacity of the entire AU institutional architecture requires attention, as part of the RECs capacity and institution building process particularly as it relates to effective linkage with other AU institutions in avoiding the long standing and unattended problem of overlaps and duplication by institutions which are supposed to be working in coherence, linking and reinforcing transformation efforts.

A clear definition on the role and space of co-operating partners in strengthening institutional capacities is of critical importance. This will allow for entrenched ownership of Africa’s development agenda by Africans. The advent of Agenda 2063 is an opportune moment to attend to systemic capacity needs of AU institutions as we gear for its implementation which should connect RECs strategic plans post-2015, NEPAD and other priorities.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that the overall capacity of Africa and the African Union’s institutions, including RECs, will ultimately determine the quality of regional integration that will be attainable. That the effective delivery of regional integration in Africa implies a strong, robust, learning and transformational network of both national and regional institutions and in particular the RECs, as the building blocs for Africa’s transformation. This fundamentally implies the dire need for effective RECs, as co-ordinating and facilitating institutions, whose own capacities are strong enough to drive regional integration, while also fostering the institutional reforms and development. [Read the complete article]  

The author, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, is SADC Executive Secretary.