African leaders strategise on MDGs
AFRICAN leaders and some notable global development experts have resolved to strengthen their economic development partnership as part of measures to achieve sustainable guidelines on the ways of meeting the targets set for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015.
Towards this end, a strategic session, built into a Financial Development Conference slated for Abuja this month is expected to produce a document that can serve as a roadmap to realizing the MDGs by all African countries in the same manner the document on National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) has done for Nigeria.
In a chat with newsmen last weekend, the Minister of Finance, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that time has come for Africans to take their destiny in their own hands by directing the ways and means things affecting them should be done so that they will eventually reach desired destinations according to their our priorities.
The conference which will focus mainly on financing for development will be graced by global economic development planners such as the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Gordon Brown, African Development Bank president, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, chairman of African Union, Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, Prime Minister of Mozambique, Ms. Louisa Diogo, and ministers of Finance of all African states as well as top representatives of the governments of all African countries.
Okonjo-Iweala said "the forthcoming conference is a fallout from the commitments made by the Group of Eight Industrialized Countries (G8) and the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2005 to support the implementations of the MDGs.
The conference will focus on addressing the challenges of translating these commitments to action by coming up with strategies to encourage the industrialized nation's to fulfil their pledges.
To achieve this, the conference will examine the impediments in the way of achieving these objectives and proffer solutions to ensure that Africa's development partners deliver on G8 and UNGA commitments of increased assistance so that African countries can, in turn, deliver on the MDG targets."
The minister, noted, that with the global acceptance of NEEDS document, even by the IMF as a standard economic planning footprint, Africans can now begin to determine the ways they want things about them should be done, rather than waiting for everything to come to them, even when such things do not necessarily address their needs.
"The acceptance of NEEDS is an indication of our underlining excellence and we hope that such an initiative to sourcing for home-grown solutions and applications must be encouraged," the minister emphasized.
She said Africa is now, leading the way in seeking solutions to the many challenges that beset it.
She, noted, that Africans should no longer wait for other people to solve their problems as the time has come for them to determine their priorities from where other partners can come in.
Because the various global development agencies, multinational institutions and nations made commitments on assisting the African continent reach the target set for achievement in 2015 on the MDGs, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala later told the Daily Champion in an interview in Lagos that, "it is important that we remind our development partners about the commitments they have made.
"Even more importantly, we have to take charge and ensure that the aid is used for the right purposes in a manner that will help us achieve the MDGs and improve the lives of our people all over the continent."
Daily Champion recalls that Nigeria, as a partner in the programme has currently set her targets on how to achieve the MDGs which are eight in number and has started tackling the issues of education, poverty and environmental stability.