economy1Despite the ongoing global financial crisis, and the euro crisis, Africa has tremendous potential to become a growth pole by 2050. Although the region’s progress could either be hampered or fostered by external factors such as the escalation of the recent euro zone sovereign debt crisis and the continuation of the global financial and economic crisis, Africa should focus on what it can do for itself. African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Development have resolved to seize opportunities in the global economy to turn the continent into a pole for global growth, underlying their determination to find home-grown solutions for development challenges.

A statement issued by the Economic Commission of Africa in Addis Ababa copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said 50 Ministers from 37 countries adopted series of measures that their countries would need to implement to achieve that goal. This was at the closing session of the Fifth Joint Annual Meetings of AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, in Addis Ababa.

The statement said the Ministers recognised, “The opportunities, potentialities and challenges for the continent to become a pole of global growth” and committed to promote and implement “holistic, coordinated and integrated policy approaches and mixes to help unleash balanced and sustainable growth and the development potential of our countries at the local, national and regional levels.”

Despite the fact that progress may be affected by external factors, the ministers resolved to focusing on the things that Africa can do on its own. In that respect, countries need to strengthen individual and collective leadership and capacities to grasp evolving local and global opportunities in order to speed up the attainment of development and transformation in Africa.

The statement took note of on-going regional integration programs across Africa and urged the promotion of mutually beneficial intra-African and South-South cooperation, including facilitating efforts towards mainstreaming the Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade.

The ministers also agreed on the need to support measures to strengthen participation by young people and women in wage employment and widening their access and opportunities in the labour market and accelerating measures designed to radically curb child and maternal mortality in Africa.

Focusing on the need for implementation which had often been a challenge to many African countries, the Ministers undertook to accelerate the scale up and implementation of different existing regional and global commitments and initiatives that were compatible with the vision of a “Transformed continent that is able to serve as a pillar of global growth,” the statement said.

It insisted on the implementation of the Road Map and Architecture for fast-tracking the Continental Free Trade Area, as well as various ancillary initiatives, such as the Minimum Integration Programme and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.