Africa's growing cooperation with Southern partners has positive impact on growth in the continent, says ECA's Nnadozie


ECA Press Release 176/2012

Addis Ababa, 24 October (ECA) -   While Africa-South cooperation has had a positive impact on Africa’s economic development, there is the need for Southern partners to strike a better balance between their strategic interests in Africa and the region’s development needs, said Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director of Economic Development and NEPAD Division of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

South-South cooperation was the centre of a pre ADF VIII event under the theme “Harnessing Mineral Resources for Africa's Development: The Role of South-South Cooperation”.

Mr. Nnadozie said "Africa-South cooperation is growing rapidly and so the focus should be more on how to foster and manage these partnerships for better and more equitable development results".

He said research by ECA and other institutions suggest that policy measures are necessary to enhance the developmental impact of the new partnerships in Africa.

He suggested that African countries should mainstream South-South cooperation more effectively into their national development plans to ensure policy coherence.

He also insisted that Africa-South cooperation should be managed in a manner that promotes the development of productive capacities and structural transformation in Africa.

"Consequently, if African countries and their Southern partners want to promote sustained economic development on the continent, the new partnership has to be geared more towards promoting structural transformation and reducing dependence on mineral-resource exports," Mr. Nnadozie said.

His third proposal is for African governments to make more effective use of mineral resource wealth in promoting development.

"Transparency in management and use of mineral resource wealth and more involvement of local stakeholders in negotiations with Southern partners will go a long way towards reducing rent-seeking and creating an incentive for better management and use of mineral-resource wealth in Africa," he explained.

In the fourth place, he urged southern partners to consider boosting trade and investment relations with non-resource rich countries in the region, particularly the least developed countries.

He finally stressed that Africa’s growing partnership with southern partners should not be seen as a substitute for relations with traditional development partners.

"Our traditional partners have and will continue to play an important role in Africa’s economic development", he said.

Mr. Nnadozie's overview of Africa-South Cooperation was followed by a lively panel discussion and interactive debate on the theme of the event. The panelists included high-ranking government officials from Ethiopia and Ambassadors of Algeria, Brazil, China, India, Nigeria and South Africa.

Prof. Stephen Chan, of the School of Oriental Studies, London, told participants not to expect China to train their citizens in the areas that China specializes in. “I think that Africa needs more training, but it must be specified to those that are prepared to finance or to provide the assistance for this training,” he said.

“Very often you get donor countries that don’t provide you with the training that you need, partly because they are worried that if they do provide the training that you need, you will become a competitor in the long term with them,” he added.

Prof. Chan challenged Africa to be bold and specify a long term future, and be mindful that the future is changing.

The debate aimed to increase knowledge and awareness of the elements involved in harnessing Africa’s vast natural resources and how south-south cooperation can enhance it, while triggering desirable actions in the context of south-south cooperation.

An ECA flagship biennial event started in 1999 and organized in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank, the ADF VIII kicked off on October 22 and lasts until the 25th.

African leaders and decision makers will discuss on how best to utilize the abundantly rich natural resources of the continent to improve the lives of its citizens. They will deliberate on various issues that broadly cover the role and use of Mineral, Land, Forest and Aquatic Resources for Africa’s development.



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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa