Final Declaration - Africa Emergence Conference

Mar 21, 2015

Africa Emergence Conference


The international Conference on the Emergence of Africa has taken place from March 18th to 20th, 2015 in Abidjan and under the chairmanship of His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The conference was organized jointly by the government of Côte d’Ivoire and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and in partnership with the World Bank, the African Development Bank (ADB).
The general objective of the conference was to spur debates on emergence and exchange ideas on the issue and conditions of emergence in the light of the dynamic that has driven economic and social transformation in emerging countries, mainly China, Brazil, India, and Malaysia. More specifically, the conference targets the following objectives:

• Have a better understanding of emergence, achieve a consensual view on the challenges faced by emerging countries, and clearly state the conditions of emergence;
• Identify and promote tools and methodologies in planning and evaluating emergence;
• Identify policy options, learn on policy design that are pragmatic and implementation driven for an inclusive development agenda and a structural transformation of Africa with the single objective of a job creation and environmental friendly driven emergence.

The participants at the conference included a large number of personalities from African countries, emerging countries and industrialized countries. The conference witnessed the participation of high level authorities including His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency Thabo Mbeki, Former President of the Republic of South Africa, the Administrator of UNDP, Mrs. Helen Clark, around forty ministers and government officials from Africa and emerging countries, and more than 300 participants as personalities, high level experts representing governments, the private sector, academics, and of civil society organizations.

1. Key issues discussed and recommendations

The challenges and conditions of emergence were discussed around three themes: (i) Developmental State and Emergence; (ii) Emergence and Changes in Consumption and Production Patterns (iii) Emergence and Human Development:
1.1 Developmental state and Emergence
A consensus has been reached that emergence is a bet on a future trajectory for a country, that emergence needs planning, and that emergence needs a stable, peaceful, with security and human right compliant environment. To achieve those conditions, the state has a key role in the emergence process.  
That central role of the state has been confirmed by the recent experiences from countries that have successfully achieved an accelerated transformation of their social, political, and economic systems, giving rise to the concept of Developmental State.

Participants underlined the importance of a strong and sustainable growth on the path of emergence and that growth cannot be let alone to market forces. Emergence is the outcome of global coherent structural reforms, added to a well-planned public and private investment within a planned and stable macroeconomic framework.

The developmental state adds five missions to the traditional sovereign prerogatives of the state:
(i) a state with a clear and shared vision translated into operational development actions;
(ii) a state that must be able to promote structural reforms for the benefit of its population. Such a state has strong national institutions equipped with capacity and resources that ensure their sustainability and efficiency;
(iii) a state that could plan for the medium and long term development and be able to direct investment to sectors, programs and projects that will achieve the realization of the main objectives and the identified sectoral priorities and materialize the vision that was set for emergence.
(iv) a state that could provide basic socio-economic services to support private sector and entrepreneurship as well as an efficient running of markets. The strengthening of planning systems to ensure consistency between the central and local government levels, based on the objectives of sustainable development, seems crucial in this regard.
(v) the actions of that emergence state must be based on transparency, accountability, and good governance. It should focus on accountability and increased participation of the private sector and civil society in the affairs. 

1.2 Emergence and changes in production and consumption patterns

For over a decade, Africa has experienced an outstanding growth, however that growth has not created the continent’s emergence. In the majority of African countries, the current economic growth is based on the rise in raw material and natural resources export and on an improved terms of trade; making those economies vulnerable to external shocks, specifically shocks related to commodity prices.

Participants have noted that this outstanding African growth is uneven across countries and sectors with no major structural transformation following up.

The experience of outperforming emerging countries brings stylized facts of huge capital accumulation, a shift in the quality of human capital with a transfer of majority of its human capital to the industrial and services sectors. In that regard, the acceleration of industrialization, the transformation of its raw materials appear therefore as a precondition to a stronger and sustainable growth in Africa.

However, this growth must be based on productivity gains of factors of production, driven by technological progress, on skills and capacity building of human capital, and on building a business climate that is conducive to investment and to the full recognition of Companies Social Responsibility.

The experience of emerging countries also teaches that they have been able to take the necessary measures to increase investment and savings rates both public and private. An efficient and competitive banking and financial system with a wide range of instruments and services that strengthen a good financial intermediation, is critical in linking investors and savers.

The inclusion of the most vulnerable populations into the financial system, and especially women and their access to credit, should be promoted so as to increase their share of participation in the economy and ensure a better social protection for the greatest number.

Moreover, countries that joined the path of emergence chose to fully and strategically better integrate globalization of trade, while standing their ground against dumping and unfair competition.

After recognizing those facts, the conference recommended that the countries aspiring to emergence implement the following measures:
(i) pursue and achieve strong, sustainable, diversified, high-value added, people centered economic growth, that is technology and innovation driven.
(ii) promote patterns of production and consumption consistent with the requirements of the transition to a green economy and strengthen the resilience and sustainability of the production system, and of the basic infrastructures including energy.
(iii) accelerate regional integration through the creation of regional blocks that could eventually lead to the improvement of intra-regional trade and efficient access to global markets.
(iv) strengthen the mobilization of domestic resources through an expansion of national to regional budget and the implementation of tax systems that encourage entrepreneurship and strengthen the private sector and set a resolute fight against illicit capital movements.

1.3 Human development and emergence

Despite continued growth in recent years, poverty has increased in Africa. This is due to a rapid population growth (2.65% annually), underpinned by high fertility rates. That population growth rate is affecting the impact of the per capita GDP growth rate (a yearly 1.8% on average between 1995 and 2014). Population is however an important variable in the process of emergence.

Following this analysis, the conference recommends that African candidates for emergence implement the following recommendations:

(i) promote an accelerated and more inclusive growth in Africa, especially targeting those sectors and places where majority of its poor population is living, therefore allowing those populations to contribute directly and significantly to the growth process. In this respect, one of the keys success factors would be, in addition increase in agricultural productivity, a diversification of rural income through rural non-farm activities.
(ii) Improve social safety nets and cash transfers more efficiently and distribute the benefits of growth. The achievement of such sustainable growth will require the inclusion of key issues of environmental friendliness, human security and resilience.
(iii) restore educational systems and redirect them towards changes in behavior and attitudes, skills development, youth employment, and women empowerment.
(iv) improve health and planning systems, paying particular attention to the accessibility, availability, and costs of access and services.
(v) grant the agricultural sector, especially those in rural area, special focus in order to strengthen nutritional and food security.
(vi) promote appropriate population policies to make the best use of rapid urbanization and better manage migration flows that are an essential component of such urbanization.

2. The Conference decisions

On the way to emergence, a triple-challenge must be addressed: conceptual, communicational and operational.

In response, the conference recommends the following:

- Create a Strategic Intelligence Center on the Emergence of Africa: the participants, learning from past experiences in emerging and developed countries, and being aware of the constraints, strengths and opportunities of African countries, are determined to lay the foundations for the structural transformation of their economies and societies so as to achieve more inclusive growth for a sustainable human development on the continent.
In that regard, the conference identified operational policy options that will be conducive for emergence. What about the relevancy of these options? What will happen in coming years? What will be the indicators and component of the dashboard? Answering these questions will require the conduct of prospective studies at national, regional and international levels and to adapt and develop analytical tools and strategic planning processes that are emergence driven.

- Organize every two years a forum on emergence’s best practices. Such an initiative would promote the establishment of a strong network for sharing experiences and best practices between experts of emerging African countries and candidates to emergence. Such a forum will be essential to deepen the arguments for emergence and build a strong advocacy in its favor. Particular attention will be paid to the issues of innovative financing mechanisms and respect of and compliance with commitments made at international level and within global partnership framework.

- Set up a high-level committee made of representatives from Cote d’Ivoire, the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and sister organizations, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Development Bank (ADB) to follow up the recommendations of the Abidjan Declaration on the emergence of Africa. This committee, which will also be open to relevant organizations of the private sector and civil society, will have a secretariat and will be responsible for preparing an action plan based on the recommendations of the conference, and its implementation will be closely monitored by the authorities of all the stakeholders involved, including a monitoring at ministerial level.

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