" ITREALMS: Zenawi tasks African ministers on self-reliance

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Zenawi tasks African ministers on self-reliance

The Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Meles Zenawi, Monday called on African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to generate strategies to ensure rapid, sustained and equitable growth on the continent, based on a reliance on African human and natural resources.

Declaring open the 40th session of the conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he enjoined participants to come up with ideas that would move the continent forward.

The Prime Minster also called for a set of ideas that addresses the multiplicity of needs and economic differences that prevail from country to country.

“In spite of the monstrous homogeneity in policy stance that we have allowed ourselves to be shackled with, there is some space for policy experimentation and diversity commensurate with our diverse circumstances,” he said.

Meles added that Africa could achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) if “we believe a little bit more in our capacity to be the authors of our own fate…and a little less in the possibility of deliverance from outside.”

Also speaking, the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba, re-echoed the theme of self-reliance, saying that the continent needs to develop an exit strategy from over reliance on aid.

According to him, employment creation remain the key to poverty alleviation and reminded the ministers of the plan of action, drawn by African heads of states and government last year, following their extraordinary summit on employment creation.

He challenged the ministers to “walk the talk” by implementing the plan in their respective countries.

Welcoming participants to the occasion the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, said there was now a need for urgency if Africa is to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

“We will soon run out of time to make the critical investments that we need to make in order to make the on-target achievement of these goals possible,” he said.

Mr. Janneh also informed the ministers that following a repositioning exercise, ECA had now launched its 2007–2009 business plan.

“The Business Plan translates ECA’s strategic vision into a concrete set of activities,” he said.

The ministers meeting, which ended Tuesday, April 3, was preceded by a meeting of the committee of experts, charged with considering several proposals for meeting the MDGs.

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