Transition from fragility to emergence possible: Head of UNDP Africa
Completing his official visit to Lomé, Togo, the Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, said the tiny West African nation has made important progress on the path to stability and development.
Accompanied by the UN Resident Coordinator in Lomé, Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, Mr. Dieye discussed with the Prime Minister, Arthème Ahoomey-Zunu, the nation’s peaceful legislative elections and its return to economic growth, expected to reach 6 percent in 2014.
In spite of that progress, Togo’s achievements on the Millennium Development Goals have been modest and most targets are unlikely to be completed by 2015.
Unemployment - especially among youth -, sharing the benefits of growth more evenly and making sure vulnerable groups are included in the development process are still important challenges. With support from UNDP, the Government has articulated an accelerated growth and employment strategy to address these challenges.
"Political dialogue is essential to building strong institutions that can reduce fragility. UNDP will continue to support the political dialogue in Togo to foster an inclusive and consensual political process, "said Mr. Dieye.
During his visit, Mr. Dieye also took part in a public debate on the emergence in Africa, co-organized by the Ministry of Planning and UNDP.
"We should welcome the current growth process in Africa as a historical development. But it is still insufficient, qualitatively and quantitavely, to decisively reduce poverty and ensure Africa emerges. If current trends continue, we will not achieve the poverty reduction target in Africa before 2031,” he added.
“African economies require diversification and structural transformation, "said Mr. Dieye, pointing out that only 15 percent of the value added from Africa’s fastest growing sectors remains on the continent and benefits people. "The challenge for us is to structurally transform our economies so that there is much more internal value created. We must also ensure the areas [that produce that value] are integrated with one another," he added.
During his visit, Mr. Dieye also participated in a meeting of the g7 + group. Inaugurated in Timor-Leste in 2010, the group now includes 19 fragile and conflict-affected states who joined together to share experiences and promote the voice of fragile states on the international stage.
In 2011, the group called for a New Deal, now endorsed by 40 nations, that targets five peacebuilding and state-building goals : legitimate politics; security; justice; economic foundations and revenues and services, all of them considered necessary to enable progress towards the MDGs.
Mr. Dieye said that the fight against fragility is a huge task that requires the participation of the entire international community. "Fragility seems to have gained a foothold in Africa," he said. "The fragility of states can be significantly reduced if we effectively target communities, allowing them to absorb shocks and prevent a collapse of institutions and society."
UNDP manages a facility to support the implementation of the New Deal, coordinating development assistance to fragile states.
During his five-day visit, Mr. Dieye met with members of the Togolese government, technical and financial partners of the country, as well as representatives of ECOBANK and the West African Development Bank. He also met with UNDP and United Nations staff in Lomé.