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Ministers to Review State of African Economy in Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA – African ministers to meet in the capital city of Ethiopia to review the state of economic and social development in Africa, says the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM2023) will be held for a week, beginning March 15, 2023.

African ministers in charge of Finance, Planning and Economic Development will attend the CoM2023 which will convene under the theme, ‘Fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities’.

“The Session will review the state of economic and social development in Africa as well as progress on regional integration,” the ECA announced.

CoM2023 will also be attended by representatives of member States, entities of the UN system, pan-African financial institutions, African academic and research institutions, development partners and intergovernmental organizations.

The session will deliberate on the development agenda of Africa on the back of a raft of economic and political challenges facing the continent.

ECA’s Acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro, said global shocks are turning millions of vulnerable people into the continent’s new poor, reversing decades of progress, citing that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed an additional 55 million Africans below the poverty line.

The high growth rates in the past two decades have reduced poverty levels in Africa with the share of the population living in extreme poverty decreasing from 55 to 35% between 2000 and 2019.

However, at least 667 million people on the continent still live in extreme poverty in 2022.

Call for pro-poor recovery efforts

Even when growth rates were high in Africa, everyone did not benefit equally, said the acting executive secretary.

For example, between 2004 and 2019, the top 10% of wage earners received about 75% of total income, data from ECA shows

It further states that high inequality, along with high levels of poverty, creates a vicious cycle in which structural bottlenecks persist, rendering the population in Africa perennially vulnerable to both economic and non-economic shocks.

Pedro said, “the ability of African countries to effectively tackle poverty and inequality is now severely constrained given declining economic growth, narrowing fiscal space, rising debt, commodity shocks, and tightening global financial conditions.”

“The risk of missing the poverty and inequality targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, of the African Union, is higher than it has ever been before.”

Pedro urged that recovery efforts must be pro-poor and inclusive, with a view to fostering a new social contract that offers equal opportunity for all.

Considerable opportunities to reach these goals exist on the continent and beyond, including through activities carried out under the African Continental Free Trade Area, green investments, digital transformation, and reforms to the global financial architecture, he added.

The 55th Session of the Commission aims to renew focus and action on reducing poverty, inequality, and other factors that have left the African population continuously vulnerable to these scourges.

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