Natural resources and innovation among the greatest strengths of Africa

9 déc. 2013

In Johannesburg, the representatives of UNDP in Africa talk of inclusive growth and sustainable development prospects of the region.

Johannesburg, South Africa, December 9 - Africa can use its natural resources and build on the entrepreneurial spirit of its people to make the transition between economic growth and sustainable development, said the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 46 African countries.

The annual meeting of UNDP in Africa ended last Wednesday and delegates called on African leaders to redouble their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They must also create economies and societies capable of ensuring security and creating opportunities for all, they said. 

Participants praised the role of creativity in the development and presented an award for innovation at the UNDP office in Rwanda for supporting entrepreneurship for youth and job creation in the field of information technology.

"Young people have been at the forefront of innovation in mobile technology. I have great confidence in the youth contribution to the development of Africa. With more skills and opportunities they can be empowered to do more, "said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator at the opening ceremony. 

Ms. Clark has repeatedly raised this issue of women and other groups’ potential in development. "By reducing inequalities, African countries can advance human development further and fully exploit the potential of women and marginalized groups," she added

During the meeting, the role of mining, forestry and water resources was reviewed in the generation of income, economic diversification and investment opportunities in infrastructure, social services and business development. 

"Where mineral resources are extracted at the local level we need to invest in communities. This is what will advance sustainable development and eliminate the causes of conflict, " stated Abdoulaye Dieye March, the Director of UNDP Africa.

Participants at the meeting also discussed the development trends in the sub-regions such as the Sahel and the Great Lakes. Communities live in chronic poverty and vulnerable to war and violence, climate change, environmental degradation and economic instability. 

Thematic discussions examined how to help countries build resilience and good governance while reducing poverty in all its dimensions.

The meeting also contemplated ways to strengthen the ability of UNDP to assist African countries to meet challenges becoming increasingly complex. The organisation played a key role in helping to achieve breakthroughs on the MDGs, and to plan the development agenda post-2015. 

The organization has adopted a new strategic plan for 2014-2017, which aims to increase its leadership, effectiveness and coherence.

During further discussion, participants assessed the role of UNDP in the reform agenda of the UN and the coordination of development activities in the global institution at country level.

UNDP is present in 46 countries in Africa and works at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone.  

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