High level delegations expected in Marrakech for the African Development Forum, an event spearheaded by the UN Economic Commission for Africa

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 7th October 2014, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Marrakech will host a number of African leaders as part of the UN's African Development Forum. The Forum takes place every two years and is organised by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Africa's most important policy think tank.

This is the first time the event is held outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the ECA is headquartered and this year the Forum will discuss innovative ways to fund Africa's transformation at the 9th African Development Forum.

Since the late 1990s, many African economies have grown significantly, and a number of countries continue to benefit from accelerating growth rates. Between 1995 and 2012, the continent's gross domestic product (GDP) doubled in real terms, from $656 billion to $1,369 billion, while GDP per capita increased by 40 per cent, from $917to $1,265. Impressive as these figures are, a number of challenges continue to impede Africa's transformation, the key one being Africa is still dependent on overseas aid.

According to reports and ECA findings, Africa requires approximately $200 billion annually to finance sustainable development, promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, and enhance economic resilience and competitiveness. Africa's infrastructure requirements alone are estimated at some $90 billion per year. The costs of safeguarding Africa's natural resources, which continue to underpin most growth in the continent, are also increasing.

Speaking about how African countries can raise funds, Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, the ECA said, "For developing countries to access the funds they require, they must strive to mobilize additional financial resources, including by accessing financial markets, while developed countries must honour the financial commitments they have made in international forums. The continent must embark on reforms to capture currently unexplored or poorly managed resources. This includes curtailing illicit financial flows and rather transforming those funds into a powerful tool for enhancing domestic resource mobilization, as a way of furthering the continent's development.

H.E. Mr. Mohamed Boussaid, Minister, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Morocco
A number of high level participants are expected. H.E. Mr. Mohamed Boussaid, Minister, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Morocco; H.E. Ms. Kaba Nialé, Minister to the Prime Minister in charge of Economy and Finance, Côte-d'Ivoire, Mr. Beker Shale, Director General, Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority, and Prof. Machiko Nissanke, Professor of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London will discuss enhancing the role of Governments with a view to attracting greater private equity investments in support of national development efforts.
H.E. Ms. Kaba Nialé, Minister to the Prime Minister in charge of Economy and Finance, Côte-d'Ivoire

Meanwhile, H.E. Mr. Anis Birou, Minister in charge of Moroccans living abroad and migration affairs, Morocco; Dr. Esman M. Nyamongo, Research Department, Central Bank of Kenya, Ms. Faiza Feki, Director General of Foreign Exchange, Central Bank of Tunisia, Ms. Aida Diarra, Regional Vice President, North, Central and West Africa, Western Union and Mr. Abdellatif Jouahri, Governor, Central Bank of Morocco will discuss how African countries can raise funds by means of remittances and diaspora bonds.

The good news is the potential for Africa to raise substantially more domestic financial resources – and to finance its development from these resources – is huge. Concrete results are within reach, even within a short time frame, if the appropriate innovations and support are put in place.
"Government tax revenue constitutes the most significant source of domestic resources for the implementation of development programmes on the continent and there is significant potential for scaling up returns. The lesson emerging from country experiences is that by focusing on expanding the tax base, improving tax administration and tapping relatively underutilised sources of taxation, African countries can increase tax revenue significantly," says Abdalla Hamdock, Dy Executive Secretary, the ECA.

Domestic tax revenues mobilised in Africa today are in excess of $520bn (2011 figures), compared to the $50bn received in aid. What's more, African central and reserve banks hold more than $400bn in international reserves and Africa's pension fund assets are growing at a staggering pace. The World Bank estimates that Africa's diaspora remittances soared to $40bn in 2012 and they have the potential to grow to $200bn over the next decade. Added to this is the potential that can be realised by addressing the losses to the continent through illicit financial flows.

For Africa to own its development, however, the continent needs to define a new robust threshold for domestic resource mobilisation that will enable the implementation of at least 70-80% of its development programmes and projects. The Forum will discuss how this can be achieved.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Cuba's Advance-Medical Team Arrives, Hailed As 'Medical Diplomats'

A high level Cuban medical delegation comprising mainly of medical doctors, financial and logistical officers has arrived in the country as an advance-team of the Cuban medical brigade that will assist Liberia in its fight to control the Ebola virus that is ravaging the West African region.

A Foreign Ministry release says the advanced Cuban medical professionals which arrived in the country on  Saturday, October 4, 2014 is headed by Dr. Juan Carlos Dupuy Nunez.

Other members of the delegation include Dr.Pablo Miguel, Raventon Vaguer, Mr. Andres Marrero Escobar, and Rolando Vergara Zito constituting of medical doctors, financial and logistical officers.

During a courtesy call on Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan at his Foreign Ministry Office on Monday, September 6, 2014, the Foreign Minister, on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the Government and people of  Liberia, extended sincere  gratitude to the Government and People of Cuba for demonstrating what he termed as a solid friendship and solidarity to people in greater needs:  "You are coming to help not just Liberia, but also the Republic of Sierra Leone”.

While lifting praises on Cuba, Minister Ngafuan noted that Cuba has over the years distinguished itself in the medical fields, referring to Cuban medical doctors as medical diplomats in the world.

The Liberian Foreign Minister further assured the advance team of his ministry’s fullest cooperation in helping them navigate through Liberia’s governmental system, noting that Liberia has good diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Foreign Minister Ngafuan disclosed that as Liberia battles against the deadly Ebola disease, the government  is also working hard to upgrade the standard of its health facilities to deal with other related illnesses that are posing threats to the heath  of the Liberian people.

Minister Ngafuan then expressed confidence that with the coming of the Cuban doctors to assist in the fight against Ebola, the disease will soon be eradicated.

In brief remarks, the head of the advanced team, Dr. Nunez who introduced members of his delegation revealed that they are in Liberia as an advance-team of what is going to be a comprehensive team of about 50 experts that will arrive in Liberia very soon.

According to Dr. Nunez, the Cuban medical team will be in the country as part of international response to control the virus in West Africa and the world and will be in Liberia to work with government in curbing the disease.

Recently, Regla Angulo, head of the Cuban medical relief agency last month, announced Cuba's contribution in the Ebola fight by sending medical personnel to work in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia with the latest announcement now putting the total number at 461 Cuban medical personnel who would have been sent to help prevent the spread of the epidemic across west Africa.

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