Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts: A forum to discuss Africa’s challenges

As part of the Experts meeting of the 55th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Director of the Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, Eunice Kamwendo made a presentation on Thursday on the Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts organized in 2022 by the five Sub-Regional Offices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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This article is sponsored by UN ECA

After presenting the themes, major discussion points, key issues raised and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts organized by the five ECA Sub-Regional Offices, Eunice Kamwendo cited some of the key interventions of these offices in terms of support to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the development of national plans, and analytical and planning tools.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Support for the development of AfCFTA national and sub-regional strategies (over 40 countries and RECs)
  • Ongoing support for strategy implementation;
  • Training and awareness workshops, engaging key stakeholders to accelerate AfCFTA implementation;
  • Rwanda and Kenya have begun implementation of AfCFTA guided trade.
  • Capacity building for policymakers in Libya and Sudan
  • Support for the establishment of a joint agribusiness park between Zambia and Zimbabwe;
  • Support for the Zambia-Democratic Republic of Congo battery value chain initiative;
  • Support to the Democratic Republic of Congo for the development of the Manono Special Economic Zone
  • Signing of a financing agreement between AFC and Cameroon for the development of the Bertoua Special Economic Zone;
  • Support for the integration of ECOWAS Vision 2050 into national development plans;
  • Initiative to improve national migration strategies and promote the recognition of migrants’ skills in North, West and South Africa.
  • Deployment of training on the Integrated Planning and Reporting Tool for Member States in all sub-regions;
  • Capacity building in national revenue mobilization in Sudan through South-South learning from Egypt
  • Application of the Blue Economy Assessment Toolkit in Tanzania
  • Tourism satellite accounts: Zanzibar, Uganda, and Namibia;
  • Support for the development of budget frameworks that take into account the demographic dividend: Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Niger.

In a presentation about the ECA Dialogues, a series of webinars organized by ECA in the run up to the Conference of Ministers, Director of the Office for North Africa Zuzana Brixiova Schwidrowski highlighted the main outcomes of the meetings, namely:

  • the need to expand countries’ fiscal space by restoring debt sustainability and gradual, domestic resource mobilisation
  • Using the AfCFTA to diversify economies away from primary products and exports of raw commodities
  • Seize demographic dividend opportunities by investing in youth and women’s education and skills, health, and decent jobs, and integrate them into high value-added RVCs so that they can also benefit from the AfCFTA

Support female entrepreneurs to strengthen women’s economic contribution and rely on the private sector for a green transition and building the skills it requires.

The Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts are annual statutory meetings of the ECA that bring together experts from Southern Africa, Central Africa, North Africa, East Africa and West Africa to discuss current and urgent issues affecting the socio-economic development of the continent. Previous meetings of the Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts have recorded high-level participation from a wide range of stakeholders from member States, the private sector, academia, international and regional development partners, civil society, and the United Nations system.

Each sub-regional office is a center of excellence with respective mandates, which contribute to achieving structural transformation for inclusive and sustainable development in the sub-region, focusing on: #regional integration, #economic diversification #job creation #inclusive industrialization & #demographic dynamics.

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