Outgoing chair of the Bureau of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Ambassador Mohammed Arrouchi of Morocco, speaking at the beginning of the experts meeting, lauded the ECA for turning ideas into action through strengthening the capacities of Member States, for example in the field of data and statistics and private sector investment in the energy sector, among others.
Mr. Arrouchi said for the past two years he held this position, he had witnessed the strong commitment and success of the ECA in not only supporting Member States strengthen their capacities, but also in channelling all the needed efforts and expertise in implementing agreed resolutions to advance Africa’s development agenda.
“Even in the context of COVID-19 we have been able in the ECA to turn challenges into opportunities as the Secretariat undertook studies towards estimating the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Africa, notably on the basis of fiscal space, debt profile and external debt,” Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the African Union and ECA said.
For his part, Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the AUC and ECA, said the conference was timely and critical for understanding the complex socio-economic consequences of COVID-19.
He said Africa had made robust effort to grapple with the pandemic and to reduce its socio-economic impact, but was not out of the woods yet.
“The current access to vaccines could be considered a good start, but by no means sufficient to make a meaningful impact. Africa will have to continue to work together in the spirit of Pan-African solidarity and in collaboration with global partners to improve access to vaccines and make a difference in the fights against COVID-19,” said Ambassador Yilma.
As part of the business of the Conference, a new Bureau was elected. Equatorial Guinea is the new Chair of the Bureau, while Madagascar landed the First Vice Presidency, Zambia the Second Vice Presidency and Sierra Leone took the Third Vice Presidency. The Kingdom of Morocco was selected as Rapporteur.
Delegates observed a minute of silence in honour of those that have lost their lives due to COVID-19 and those that perished in the recent explosion in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.