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Business News of Monday, 20 May 2013

Source: B&FT

Africa development summit to be held in USA

A summit billed for deliberations on how to engineer sustainable development mechanisms to 'liberate' Africa from its social-economic suppression is scheduled to take place in Texas, USA in August this year.

After the successful inaugural summit at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology last year, Elizka Relief Foundation, a Ghanaian-based NGO and executive producer of the African Local Summit series in conjunction with its partners - CIVICUS, Phelps Stokes, Got Produce, Global Media, Foundation, Business & Financial Times, Children of the Earth, IFOSSF, Empowerment Works, ABC4ALL, Green Peace etc. - is organising the next summit with the theme “Sustainable Development Goals and Africa beyond 2015: The Role of African Diaspora”.

The summit seeks to provide a platform for the Africans in the Diaspora and those at home to develop policies and programmes necessary for understanding the complexities and practical implications of the African Diaspora in socio-economic development of Africa and foster appropriate relations between international development actors and the African Diaspora in the post-2015 process.

The summit also seeks to advocate, promote and strengthen the African Diaspora’s role in development by creating a perfect window of opportunity for engagement.

It will be recalled that the UN has admitted it erred in leaving out the African Diaspora in deliberations leading up to the formulation of the MDGs. However, it seems the same cycle is being repeated in the formulation of the Post-2015 SDGs.

Moreover, the 3-day summit will be preceded by a one-day youth summit that has the theme “African Diaspora Youth and Post-2015”.

The Chief Executive Officer of Elizka Relief Foundation, Kofi Kankam told newsmen in Sunyani that although substantial progress has been made globally in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development indicators, many countries particularly in Africa are still grappling to attain them by 2015.

He said while China has made remarkable progress by reducing extreme poverty to 13% in 2008, the poverty rate in sub-Sahara Africa remains widespread. The poverty rate in sub-Sahara Africa dropped 5% further to 48% from 2005 to 2008, which also happens to be the largest drop in the region since the beginning of estimating international poverty rates, he said.

Moreover, he said, the number of people living in extreme poverty fell in the region from 395 million to 386 million within the same period, showing a reverse in long-term increase.

Mr. Kankam said Africa as a whole is lagging behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goals despite a very encouraging recent rise in the rate of economic growth, improvement in environmental policy, and strong macroeconomic fundamentals - adding that the grave long-term risk of climate change compounds the difficulty in the continent’s efforts at achieving the MDGs and other development indicators.

He noted that though Africans in the Diaspora have a major role for attaining the MDGs in Africa by 2015, the relationship between Africa’s Diaspora and the MDGs target - and most especially the SDGs - have not been widely explored, hence the pending summit.

Furthermore, he mentioned that taking into consideration the importance of the summit, world acclaimed personalities like Pape Samb of Phelps Stokes; TMS “Teddy” Ruge of CNN, New York Times, African Diaspora Fame; Jenny Huang of IFOSSF; Amy Taylor of CIVICUS; Kumi Naidoo of GreenPeace; Helene Oord of WorldView Mission International; Deborah Walliser -- Got Produce etc, have all confirmed their participation as keynote speakers. He also said that Miriam Lulu Chemmoss, the world acclaimed singer and artist, will also be in attendance with a special presentation and performance.

He advised that the Diaspora of developing countries serve as potent force for the development of their countries of origin through remittances, but also most importantly through promotion of trade, investments, research, innovation, knowledge and technology transfers -- “and should be accorded the requisite recognition and platform to contribute their quota in formulation of policies and targets on the continent”.

By Edward Adjei Frimpong, Sunyani

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