Experts discuss the Developmental State and underscore its role in the socio-economic transformation of the continent

ECA Press Release 1012013

Addis Ababa, 20 February 2013 (ECA) – The state is expected not only to facilitate a conducive environment for private enterprise to thrive, but to guide, regulate and create direction for both the economy and society in other words, shepherding the development process, said Mr. Said Adejumobi, Head of the Governance and Public Administration Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).  

Mr. Adejumobi made his remarks during the third meeting of the Committee on Governance and Popular Participation (CGPP) on the theme: “The Developmental State: What options for Africa?”.

“Given the specific historic conjuncture of the continent, in which ever than before, there are possibilities of Africa emerging as the new pole of global economic growth, with its large reservoir of young labour force, abundant natural resources, and arable land, there is no better moment to engage the discourse on how the state can effectively harness the diverse resources and capacities of respective countries in achieving economic and social transformation,” Mr. Adejumobi noted.  

“A development oriented political leadership devised functional state institutions that facilitated both political stability and economic development”, also said Mr. Girum Abebe, Representative of the Government of Ethiopia. The leaders in such political leadership give the bureaucracy sufficient space to operate independently in pursuit of the desired development goals, he reiterated.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Mrs. Aisha Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs at the African Union Commission emphasized on the need to think of home grown solutions including how to make African people agents of the developmental state.

“As you are aware, for several years, development prescriptions from outside the continent has done too little to improve our lot,” Mrs. Abdullahi stated.

The meeting debated the concept of developmental state: what it entails and needs to be done in order to create it; its role in the development and democratization processes. The experts also touched on global challenges and opportunities confronting contemporary African states.

Speaking on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), Mr. Kojo Busia, Chief of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) said that, whilst “Whilst Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) are an African problem that hurt all stakeholder groups involved in the pursuit of development and economic prosperity on the African continent, they have a global solution.” Therefore it is essential for African nations to work together with their development partners in the pursuit of their eradication.

In the fight against IFFs it is essential, said Mr. Busia, that countries be equipped to adequately and effectively fight the three C’s: The Criminal aspects; the Commercial aspects and widespread Corruption. In this fight, the role of Civil Society is crucial.

“The Developmental State must be based on legitimacy,” said Mr. Jalal Abedel-Latif, the Chief of the Civil Society and Post Conflict section of the Governance and Public Administration Division Division at the ECA, following the presentation of Mr. Busia on the pervasive issue of IFFs.  He noted the importance of inclusiveness in the process of crafting comprehensive development frameworks.

The objectives of the two-day meeting was to review and evaluate ECA’s activities in the area of governance and public administration and propose new activities for the next two years. The meeting also looked at the ECA could improve its governance and public administration activities and working relations with non-state actors and development partners.

The committee also considered four parliamentary documents: the state of governance in Africa: Illicit Financial Flows as a governance challenge; APRM and the Quest for a Developmental State: the Role of CSOs in implementing the National Program of Action; Progress in the promotion of popular participation and governance in Africa; and Participatory development through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).

The meeting, which brought together over 40 government, private sector and civil society representatives from across Africa.


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