Statement by RBA Director Abdoulaye Mar Dieye on the Regional Programme for Africa Document to the 2018 First Regular Session of the Executive Board

Jan 23, 2018

Statement by the Regional Director for Africa Abdoulaye Mar Dieye

on the Regional Programme for Africa Document

2018 First Regular Session of the Executive Board

United Nations, ECOSOC Chamber


Mr. President of the UNDP Executive Board,

Distinguished Members of the Executive Board,

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to submit to this session of the Executive Board for consideration the Regional Programme for Africa Document (2018-2021).

Mr President, Distinguished Members of the Executive Board, as you are aware, over the past years, regional programmes have increasingly become an important component of UNDP’s programming architecture. Underpinned by the principle of leveraging regional public goods, regional programmes have proved to be particularly pertinent to Africa’s economic, political and social development agenda. They have allowed UNDP to help the continent to strengthen regional and sub-regional institutional set-up and strategic frameworks, adopt collective approaches to addressing complex development challenges, notably those of a cross-border nature, enhance its bargaining power in the global market place, given the limited capacities and powers of individual small states vis-à-vis more powerful partners as well as scale up innovative national initiatives.

We are pleased to note that these principles are among the ones underpinning the continent’s transformational agenda for the coming 5 decades.

The Africa Regional Programme being presented to you has been formulated in close consultation with the African Union Commission and Regional Economic Commissions and a wide range of stakeholders, including sister UN agencies, multilateral and bilateral partners, and civil society.  The Programme is closely aligned to Agenda 2030, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and in particular UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2018 – 2021) and its quality expectations, including the need to build our programmes based on the evidence garnered from evaluations of past assistance.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board

Africa has made significant advances in the economic, political, social and governance spheres over the past 15 years in particular. However, the continent’s recent development performance shows that it will require increased efforts at accelerating transformational changes if it is to achieve its shared commitments under Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030. Despite impressive economic growth over the past years, the desired economic structural changes have yet to be attained. The economies have remained vulnerable to commodity booms and bursts, owing to lack of meaningful diversification of their structures. Importantly also, the absolute number of poor still rose from 377 to 414 million from 1999 to 2010. Gender inequality in the labour force has cost the continent USD 95 billion annually; only 10-20% of women are landholders and women continue to face 24% lower wages than men. Moreover, the youth population in Africa is projected to double by 2050 while the continent stubbornly remains a politically, economically and culturally inhospitable environment for young people. How Africa handles its bursting youth population will among most important determining factors between prosperity and instability in the coming decades. While the effects of climate change are felt globally, Africa is impacted disproportionately due to the continent’s heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture and pastoral, land-dependent livelihoods that expose millions to unpredictable climate variabilities.

Regional spill-over of conflicts, combined with sub-regional and continent-wide effects of globalization, violent extremism, migration, spread of infectious disease (e.g. Ebola), climate change, exploitation of natural resources, and trafficking of drugs and people have underscored that ‘siloed’ or ‘state-centric’ approaches alone will not suffice.

Therefore, leveraging of regional and sub-regional public goods will continue to be key to the success of Africa’s development and transformational efforts over the years to come. This regional programme is anchored on the importance of having a regionalized lens and approach, informing and shaping interventions to advance development across different sectors in Africa, complementing and reinforcing national level development initiatives and programmes.

The African Union provides an important institutional framework for advancing the achievement of these goals and the Regional Economic Communities provide an extensive architecture for sub-regional integration and harmonization at the continental level. While comprehensive, these institutions suffer from a lack of sustainable capacity, insufficient ability to harmonize vertically between dynamics at national and international levels, and low ability to harmonise horizontally between the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, financial, human rights and other institutions.

The UNDP Regional Programme for Africa (2018-2021) has been designed to respond to 3 development challenges at regional level mentioned above – these include:   

  1. Supporting AU and RECs to deliver on their mandate, especially cross-cutting issues related to structural transformation and building resilience - will build upon UNDP’s wealth of knowledge on capacity development;
  2. Supporting an inclusive growth agenda that is risk-informed and able to respond the most pressing challenges to ensure that regional growth is inclusive, sustainable, and economic inequalities reduced;
  3. Help build peaceful and inclusive societies, by supporting regional institutions ability to sustain peace and build resilience to crises and shocks, while responding to the Report of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group of Experts on the 2015 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture, the UN SC and the GA resolutions on ‘sustaining peace.’

We will continue to engage in mutually reinforcing partnership arrangements and vigorous resource mobilization to adequately complement the core resources to be allocated. We will also put in place much more effective implementation and monitoring mechanisms, as set out in the programme document.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our regional partners including the African Union Commission, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Africa Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), African Civil Society organisations, and partner countries including China, Denmark, EU, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden for their support in helping design this programme in the spirit of co-creation. I would also like to thank the members of the Board for their continued support of UNDP efforts at regional level.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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