‘Poverty-Inequality Pose High Risk to Africa’s Peace, Prosperity’

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By Mariama Marong

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro said poverty and inequality in Africa pose high risks to the continent’s prosperity, peace, and security.


Experts in the field of economics and trade of all African governments within the continent will converge in March to foster resilience in reducing poverty among Africa States in the upcoming 55th session of the Economic Commission for African States, CoM2023.

The Committee of Experts of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, is a statutory meeting of the ECA and takes place from 15 to 17 March. This year’s conference will be a hub for international diplomacy and how the African region specifically

The Conference will bring together Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development from the African member with the governors of central banks, entities of the United Nations system, pan-African financial institutions, African academic and research institutions, development partners, intergovernmental organizations and other key stakeholders on an annual basis to engage and exchange views the state of economic and social development in Africa, progress on regional integration and other issues pertinent to the continent.

In a hybrid virtual press conference organized by ECA, speaking Executive Secretary UNECA, Antonio Pedro said
the Committee of Experts and the Ministerial Segment will convene under the theme “Fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities”.


He said the conference will aim to renew focus and action on reducing poverty, inequality and other factors that have left the African population continuously vulnerable to these scourges.
 
Pedro said the impact of the shocks caused by COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and climate change have pushed more people into extreme poverty and have increased inequality worldwide.
 
“Africa is falling even further behind, with the continent now accounting for the highest proportion of the world’s poor of any region globally”.

He stated that 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”.
 
He said the emergence of a large number of newly poor and vulnerable people makes it harder to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Additionally, he said the ability of African countries to effectively tackle poverty and inequality is also severely constrained given declining economic growth, narrowing fiscal space, rising debt, commodity shocks and tightening global financial conditions.
 
He said the 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 said the meeting will gear toward making policies and interventions to foster resilience and reduce poverty and inequality amid global shocks; socio-economic implications of climate change and opportunities to leverage green finance, and harnessing the AfCFTA for Economic Resilience and Inclusion.