Ms. Noura Hamladji addressing the second regular session of the Joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board. Photo: UNDP/Freya Morales

New York, 7 June 2018

United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 3, 15H00

[As prepared for delivery]

Mr. President of the UNDP Executive Board,

Distinguished Members of the Executive Board,

Representatives of the Governments of Kenya, Malawi and Rwanda,

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to present the Country Programme Documents for Kenya, Malawi and Rwanda to the Second Regular session of the Joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board for approval.

The Country Programme Documents (CPD) have benefited extensively from consultations with the respective Government partners and a wide range of stakeholders, including UN sister agencies, multilateral and bilateral partners, civil society, and the private sector. They respond adequately to respective national development priorities and focus on UNDP comparative advantages. While all three CPD are aligned to the UNDP Strategic Plan, they nonetheless present differences in development contexts and the corresponding differences in approaches that UNDP adopts in response.  

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board.

In the case of Kenya, the country has made significant political, structural and economic reforms over the past decade to attain a Middle-income status. The GDP is forecast to grow by over 6 per cent in the medium term. However, its key development challenges still include poverty, inequality, participatory governance, resilience to climate change and the vulnerability of the economy to internal and external shocks. Kenya’s Gini coefficient of 47.7 is above the 2013 sub-Saharan African average of 43.8. Poverty is feminized and the rates remain above 80 per cent in remote, and sparsely populated north-eastern parts of the country. Several areas still remain vulnerable to inter- and intra-communal conflicts and terrorism.

We should acknowledge the good progress achieved in the implementation of Kenya CPD 2014-2018 including in tracking development targets, reporting on the MDGs and SDGs Roadmap and launching the SDGs locally. However, more needs to be done to address the continuous development challenges facing Kenya today. The new CPD therefore aims to contribute to this by focusing on the following strategic priorities which are aligned to Kenya government’s national development agenda (the Big 4). These strategic priorities are: (a) governance, peace and security; (b) inclusive growth and structural transformation; and (c) environmental sustainability, climate change and resilience. Particular attention will be given to supporting value chain agriculture, women and youth employment and sustainable use of natural resources. The Kenya programme will run from 2018-2022 and will cost $185,243 million.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board.

For Malawi, the development progress in the last decade has been adversely affected by climate-induced external shocks and domestic political and governance shocks. Malawi ranks 170 out of 188 countries in terms of Human Development Index, well below the Sub-Saharan average. Poverty remains widespread and the country’s economy is undiversified and vulnerable to shocks, with multidimensional poverty and rising inequality. The Gini coefficient increased from 0.339 to 0.461 between 2005 and 2017. The impact of cyclical droughts and floods has intensified over recent years and threaten the development gains.

The overarching objective of the Malawi country programme is to reduce poverty, inequalities and vulnerability to shocks by (a) enhancing economic innovation, inclusive business, job creation, and renewable energy access; (b) scaling up climate adaptation and resilience to shocks; and (c) strengthening effective, accountable and inclusive governance. The CPD is aligned to the national priorities set out in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy 2017-2022, the UNDAF and the Agenda 2030. The CPD will upscale the use of innovative financing to channel productive investment in key areas and prioritize the integration of climate change adaptation into development plans. Let me highlight the notable joint commitment of UNDP and Government of Malawi to innovation and the implementation of transformation programmes, the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) and the National Registration and Identification System. The new CPD of US$ 151,680,000 million will run from 2019 to 2023.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board.

Rwanda represents an impressive story of transformation in Africa after coming out of the shadows of the 1994 genocide.  Over the last two decades, the country has achieved remarkable socioeconomic progress demonstrated, by a more than three-fold increase in per capita GDP from $199 in 2002 to $771 in 2016. Real GDP growth averaged 7.15 per cent for 2010-2017, much higher than the 4.12 per cent average for sub-Saharan Africa. This transformation has been guided by long-term vision and governance reforms which resulted in consolidated peace, broad-based economic growth, exemplary women participation in political leadership (64% in parliament), safe and secure living environment, efficient and effective systems. The new programme will build on these achievements through innovative development approaches which combine upstream policy with downstream initiatives.

But despite the success story, Rwanda has the ‘unfinished business’ of economic diversification and dependence on external assistance, youth unemployment, women economic participation, high population density, vulnerability to natural disasters and independent media development. The new country programme will contribute to Rwanda’s Vision 2050 and ambition to attain upper middle-income status by 2035.  UNDP will support the country’s efforts to structurally transform into a more diversified, competitive, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economy, bolstered by accountable and responsive institutions.  UNDP will continue supporting innovation, South-South Cooperation, and the SDGs. This will include upscaling and duplicating throughout Africa and beyond, its flagship initiative to address youth unemployment, named YouthConnekt. The programme of US$ 69,790,000 million will run from 2018 to 2023.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

In spite of the differences of approach, all three programmes are underpinned by a common development reality and the principle of engagement to “leave no one behind” by targeting the most vulnerable and left behind. They also commonly address the following: poverty and exclusion, youth unemployment, women empowerment, promoting south-south cooperation, inclusive growth, deepening democratic dividend and sustaining peace to achieve the SDGs. 

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

We are expecting the Executive Board to approve the CPD of Rwanda, Malawi and Kenya as well as the extension for Sierra Leone and Republic of Congo.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Members of the Board for their support to the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa and to all programme countries under the Bureau’s responsibility. A warm thank you for your support

I thank you for your attention.

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