L to R: UNDP Africa Chief Economist Ayodele Odusola, Kazakhstan Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev, RBEC Director Cihan Sultanoglu, and Benin Deputy Minister of Economy Abdoulaye Bio Tchane. Photo: Eunice Kamwendo/UNDP
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Government of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Benin organized a High-Level Side event on 28 May 2016 to validate the preliminary findings of a study conducted by UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) on “Emerging opportunities and risks of LDCs Graduation in Africa in the context of the SDGs.”
The event, chaired by Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonweatlth of Independent States (RBEC), was held during the High-Level Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA), in Antalya, Turkey, from 27 May through 29 May 2016.
Notable participants and panelists included Mr. Yerzhan Ashikbayev, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Dr. Pedro Luís da Fonseca, Secretary of State for Planning and Territorial Development of Angola; Dr. Auxilia Ponga, Principal Secretary at Zambia’s Ministry of National Development Planning; Mr. Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, Benin’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Planning and Development; Ambassador Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations, Mr. Patrick Guillaumont, President of Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International – FERDI (Foundation for International Development Study and Research), and Mr. Dehpue Y. Zuo, Liberia’s Deputy Minister for International Cooperation and Economic Integration.
During panel discussions, UNDP RBA Chief Economist Ayodele Odusola expounded on LDC graduation processes and criteria for achieving middle-income status. Odusola urged African countries to diversify their economies by switching from primary commodities production and exports and pursuing value addition, industrialization and improving agricultural productivity. Africa is home to the world’s largest contigent of LDC, with 34 countries.
Odusola further added that African LDCs must invest in maximizing emerging economic opportunities and minimizing perennial risks associated with LDC graduation intio Middle-Income Country (MIC) status. This is viewed as critical for LDCs’ relative ability to achieve goals set forth in the IPOA and now Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Furthermore, Odusola called for a harmonized monitoring framework and continuous alignment of IPOA priorities with the 2030 Agenda and their integration into national development plans and strategies.
Panelists also stressed the need to invest in LDCs’ ability to manage shocks and vulnerabilities and to put appropriate policies in place to enhance their productive capacities, including market access, technology and innovation, infrastructure and access to domestic and international finance).
UNDP’s final report on the LDC’s graduation to middle-income status is scheduled to be released in July 2016.
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