Abuja, 26 March 2014 (ECA) - In presentations made by the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa on the theme of the Conference, discussions at the ongoing Conference of Ministers have stressed that despite strong and sustained rates of economic growth in African countries in the last decade, the growth has failed to contribute to inclusive and sustainable social and human development. The meeting of experts learnt member States have made strong calls for Africa’s structural transformation and that the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission have refocused their responses accordingly.
René N’Guettia Kouassi, AUC Director of Economic Affairs stressed the urgency for industrialization that moves from individual country plans to a more regional process. He said that successful integration on the African continent depends on effective coordination that links the integration vision to leadership and governance. He highlighted The Action Plan for Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa –AIDA which was adopted by the African Union in 2008 in order to foster industrial development as an effective, socially responsible and sustainable means to economic transformation.
Takyiwaa Manuh, Director of Social Development Policy Division at the ECA, highlighted the challenges to achieving gender equality in Africa. She noted that the ECA has refocused its mandate to more effectively support the African structural transformation agenda under the rubric of putting “Africa First”.
In a presentation on the ECA Continent-Wide Initiative for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment – NCWI-GE/WE she said, “African women must be at the centre of Africa’s structural transformation because of their important economic and social contributions which are yet to be fully acknowledged and valued.”
Delegates underscored the improvements made in their respective countries with regard to women’s empowerment in areas such as employment and decision making.
"The major challenge with gender issues is not measuring and evaluating women’s contribution in the economy, we must identify the reasons why women’s contribution is not fully acknowledged and valued," stressed a delegate from Morocco.
A delegate from Côte d’Ivoire reaffirmed the amendments in the country’s legislation which now reflect women and men as sharing equal responsibilities within the family.
Liberia drew the attention of the delegates to the country’s push to increase women’s participation in decision making with a considerable number of women in top political positions.
Mr. Stephen Karingi, ECA Director of Regional Integration and Trade Division a the ECA posited the Regional Integration Index that is being designed as a tool to help assess progress in the implementation of the Abuja Treaty among African States Presented the background, aggregates and methodology developed for the African. The index is meant to engage African governments and influence decision making process on the road to regional integration.
Delegates stressed that the Regional Integration Index must take into consideration the role of Regional Economic Communities in strengthening regional integration. Furthermore, stressed delegates, peace and security indicators must be adequately integrated.