Annotated Provisional Agenda

Opening of the Meeting (agenda item 1)

The formal opening of the thirty-third session of the Commission and Twenty-fourth Meeting of the Conference of Ministers responsible for economic and social development and planning and the Seventh Session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance will take place at the United Nations Conference Centre, headquarters of the Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday, 6 May 1996 at 9:30 a.m. The Conference will be formally opened by H.E. Mr. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Mr. K. Y. Amoako, the Executive Secretary of ECA; and Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (document E/ECA/CM/24/Inf.1/Rev.1).

Election of the Bureau (agenda item 2)

In accordance with rules 14 and 15 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, the Conference will elect, from among the representatives of member States, a Chairman, a First Vice-Chairman, a Second Vice-Chairman, a Third Vice-Chairman and a Rapporteur. The country composition of the Bureau will follow, but may not be restricted to that agreed upon by the Technical Preparatory Committee of the Whole (TEPCOW).

Adoption of the Agenda and Programme of Work (agenda item 3)

The Meeting will be invited to consider and adopt its agenda and establish the procedures for the conduct of its business. (Documents E/ECA/CM/24/1/Rev.1 and E/ECA/CM/24/Inf.1.Rev.1)

Theme of the Conference: The Challenges of Financing Development in Africa (agenda item 4)

Plenary Session I:

Keynote Address on "The Challenges of Financing Development in Africa"

H.E. Mr. Alpha Oumar Konaré, President of the Republic of Mali, will deliver a keynote address on the Challenges of Financing Development in Africa. This presentation will provide the framework that will guide consideration and deliberation on the theme of the Conference.

Plenary Session II:

Panel Presentations and Discussion on "Policy Reforms and Aid Effectiveness" (agenda item 4 continued)

This first panel will have three panelists who are senior officials and key policy makers in the development assistance community, including H.E. Eveline Herfkens, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands; Ms. Carol Lancaster, formerly Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, currently on the faculty of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and author of the recent book, "Aid to Africa; So Much to Do, So Little Done"; and Professor Paul Collier, Director of the Development Research Group, the World Bank. The Panel will be moderated by Mr. Kwesi Botchwey, Director of Africa Programmes and Research at the Harvard Institute for International Development and former Finance Minister of Ghana.

The Panel will begin with 10-15 minute presentations by each of the panelists who will comment on the recent evidence linking a good policy environment to increased aid effectiveness. They will also discuss modalities to enhance aid effectiveness, including the integrated and comprehensive approaches to development assistance as well as means to foster "ownership" of development assistance programs by recipient States. In this context, panelists will also discuss internationally agreed-upon targets for advancing development goals and the need for indicators for measuring performance.

Following these presentations, the African Ministers and Governors will be invited to engage in an exchange of views and discussions among themselves and with the panelists. The Moderator may call on some agency representatives as needed to add to the deliberations. It is anticipated that these exchanges will help to inform the Ministerial Debate (agenda item 6).

Plenary Session III:

Panel Presentations and Discussions on a "Review of the African Debt Situation and Domestic Resource Mobilization in Africa" (agenda item 4 continued)

This second panel will also include eminent personalities who are senior officials and key policy makers in major relevant organizations, namely: Mr. Rubens Ricupero, Director-General of UNCTAD; Mr. Ernesto Hernández-Catá, Associate Director of the African Department, the International Monetary Fund; and Mr. Francis Mayer, Chairman of the Paris Club. The Moderator of this panel will be Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Chairman of the Global Coalition for Africa. This Panel will also begin with 10-15 minute presentations by each of the panelists.

In the context of Africa’s external debt problems, the panel will consider the present level of debt, recognizing that it is unsustainable under any sensible growth-oriented macroeconomic scenario. It will also consider the current HIPC Initiative, now regarded as being too restrictive and unlikely to be the appropriate vehicle for resolving the debt problem. In light of new debt relief proposals, panelists will comment on the specific provisions that would enable as many countries as possible to receive deep debt relief quickly and comprehensively, including debt cancellation.

The panel will also comment on key issues and policies for raising the savings effort in Africa, including macroeconomic stability, financial market reforms, quality of thrift institutions, the range of flexible financial savings instruments, financial deepening, interest rate policy management and incentives to save.

Finally, in the aftermath of the recent global financial crises, this panel will comment on the proposals under debate to reform the present international financial system by responding to early symptoms and resolving them quickly as well as strengthening institutional mechanisms to support stable global financial markets. The panel will also discuss how a possible new international financial architecture might minimize the risks of the current volatility in capital markets, trade and finance and better serve the needs of poor countries for development financing.

Plenary Session IV:

  1. Report on the Economic and Social Situation in Africa (agenda item 5a)

The 1999 ECA Economic Report on Africa (ERA) provides a succinct assessment of performance in Africa during the recent past and highlights the short to medium term prospects of the African economy. A distinguishing feature of this year’s Report is the evaluation of performance (outcomes) and policy efforts in terms of progress towards a well-defined long-term goal of reducing poverty by half by the year 2015, and further the sustainability of observed outcomes. In this respect, this edition attempts to develop a sustainability index for African economies, in addition to performance and policy indices. In this session, the ECA Executive Secretary will summarize the main findings of the 1999 ERA.

Perhaps one of the greatest threats to the challenge of poverty reduction and sustainability in Africa is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With only 10 percent of the world’s population, Africa has 63 percent of global HIV/AIDS cases. In this context, this session will also include a presentation by Mr. Peter Piot, the Executive Director of UNAIDS who will highlight the magnitude of the AIDS problem on the continent, the complex economic and social impact of the epidemic, and the role that African policy makers and development partners need to play in addressing the challenges posed by the epidemic. These two presentations will be followed by a general discussion moderated by the Chairman of the Conference.

Plenary Session V:

Ministerial Policy Debate on the Economic and Social Situation and Challenges of Financing Development in Africa (agenda item 6)

This session will allow Ministers or Heads of Delegations of member States of the Commission to make brief statements, of not more than four minutes each, on the key issues of the Conference theme in relation to their country experiences. The Chairman will also give the opportunity to Heads of Delegations of Observer countries to make brief interventions.

Plenary Session VI:

Consideration of the Report of the Nineteenth Meeting of the Technical Preparatory Committee of the Whole of (TEPCOW) and Intergovernmen-tal Group of Experts of the Seventh Session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance (agenda item 7)

Under this item, the conference will have before it the above-mentioned Report including the recommendations made during the Meeting of Experts held in preparation for the Joint Conference of Ministers of Planning and Finance. The Meeting of the Experts will have conducted an in-depth examination of all the issues on the agenda of the Conference to enable it advise the Ministers. Among the main issues that the Experts will have discussed are: the Report on the Work of the Commission, 1996-1998; coordination and collaboration among United Nations agencies at the regional and subregional levels in Africa; rationalization and harmonization of ECA-Sponsored Institutions: A Progress Report; and the Programme of Work and Priorities of ECA, 2000-2001. The Ministers will then consider and comment on the Report of the Meeting of the Experts as well as review and adopt the recommendations including the resolutions.

Plenary Session VII:

Consideration of the Draft Ministerial Statement on "Challenge of Financing Development in Africa" (agenda item 8)

In this session, the Ministers will consider and then agree on a Ministerial Statement summarizing their conclusions on the challenge of financing development in Africa. The Ministers’ Statement will include common views on the importance of ODA flows in the context of improved modalities for greater aid effectiveness. It will also contain the Ministers’ consensus on suggested improvements to the international financial system with emphasis on the needs of African countries. Finally and most importantly, the statement will reflect the African Minister’s position on the need for faster, wider and deeper debt relief.

Any Other Business (agenda item 9)

Under this agenda item, the conference will consider any other matters raised by member State delegations.

Adoption of the Report and Closure of the Meeting (agenda item 10)

Under this agenda item, the Conference will examine and adopt its Report and Conference Statement on "The Challenges of Financing Development in Africa".