Inequalities are a recurrent theme in the debate on development. The Millennium Declaration recognized the concern over inequalities- although within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets and MDGs implementation, the issue only received scant attention. The discourse around a post-2015 development framework is cognizant of the need to sufficiently address social and economic inequalities, given the evidence that inter and intra-country inequalities have largely worsened over the 15-year MDGs implementation period. For Africa, the question of inequalities is critical, especially in light of the conversations about structural economic transformation and the optimistic outlook about the continent’s prospects. Against this background and in the context of both the African Union’s Agenda 2063 visioning and the United Nations-led post-2015 development agenda process, there is need to create a constructive space where key African constituencies which are concerned with different domains of the inequality question and/or are engaged in conceptualizing and shaping possible trajectories for African transformation can coalesce to share their visions and aspirations and explore possible common paths to social change.
The Pan-African Conference on “Tackling Inequalities and Promoting Structural Transformation in Africa” was a first step in this regard. The Conference responded to the call by the African Union (AU) Chairperson for everyone from every sector of society to have a say in defining “the African agenda for 2063”. The conference aimed at forging linkages between the ongoing African developmental debates and the discussions on a post-MDGs development framework. The Conference lead to a statement on coined “The Accra Declaration ” as an input to the global deliberations on the Post–2015 discussions. Its primary intention was to craft an African agenda on inequalities, especially in the context of the pan-African process aimed at shaping an African vision for the next 50 years – i.e. the Africa 2063 agenda.. The Conference and broader movement that was generated has catalysed a new coalition of African individuals and institutions that are fostering a vibrant agenda for equitable African transformation.
Highlights for Monday, 28 April 2014
A dancer from the National Dance Coompany of Ghana opens the Pan-African Conference on Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation.
The Pan-African Conference on Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation opened on Monday, 28 April 2014, with traditional music and dance performed by the National Dance Company. Participants also viewed a short video presentation, which illustrated the impact of inequalities. During the morning, participants heard opening speeches and messages of goodwill from dignitaries. P. V. Obeng, Chairman, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Ghana, expressed hope that the discussions taking place will produce activities that lead to more responsive and responsible governments, underscoring that people should be at the center of development. John Dramani Mahama, President, Republic of Ghana, opening the Conference, said that the discussions at the Conference aim to invigorate African efforts to tackle the joint problem of inequalities. He cautioned against attributing inequality to a lack of diligence, discipline and willpower. Participants engaged in a dialogue on African inequalities in the global development agenda. A high-level panel on inequalities took place, chaired by Hanna Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana. Panelists addressed various topics including: the role of gender in a transformational agenda; the role of politics for promoting social inclusion; progress of discussions for the post-2015 development agenda; and the role of regional integration in combatting inequalities. In the afternoon, participants took part in a dialogue on understanding African inequalities, chaired by Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, presented framing remarks on why structural transformation is important for Africa’s equitable development agenda and Africa 2063. The panel discussion on understanding economic, social, political and spatial inequalities in the context of structural transformation was chaired by Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner, Economic Affairs, African Union. Panelists addressed topics including: different types of inequalities; the environmental dimensions of inequalities; and mechanisms that perpetuate inequalities. The discussion on country experiences and perspectives was chaired by Aidan Eyakuze, Society for International Development (SID). Participants heard case studies from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria and South Africa. In the evening, participants were invited to attend a banquet hosted by the President of Ghana.
Panel (L-R): Corrine Woods, Director, UN Millennium Campaign, and Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, Director Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy
|Phillip Schonrock, Director CEPEI, Colombia, and Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director, Policy UN Milennium Campaign||Aissatou Diallo, Program Officer “Africa, Emerging Powers & South-South Relations” and Professor Patricia McFadden|
|Mathew Quashie, Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces|
|Professor Henrietta I.A.N Mensa-Bonsui, Director Legion Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy address the Pan African Conference.||John Dramani Mahama, President, Republic of Ghana addresses Inequalities to the assembly|
|Gilbert Niyongabo, PhD Head of Development Republic of Burundi, University of Burundi dances with member of Ghana National Dance Company|
National Dance Company of Ghana
Highlights for Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Thandika Mkandawire, London School of Economics
The Pan-African Conference on Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation reconvened for its second day of discussions on Tuesday, 29 April 2014. Participants took part in a dialogue on lessons in addressing inequalities in Africa. During the morning, participants heard a framing statement from Thandika Mkandawire, London School of Economics, on the lessons learned, possibilities and options for addressing inequalities in Africa. The subsequent panel session addressed perspectives from Africa and other regions. Topics touched upon included: rising economic nationalism in some countries; increased private sector support for small and medium enterprises as a source of economic growth; exploring Brazilian social protection systems; and going beyond public investments to redistribute income between financial classes. Participants then convened in four parallel panel sessions on Employment and Entrepreneurship; Macroeconomic Policies for Inclusive Growth and Transformation; Financing Agenda for Structural Transformation and Equity; and Asset Inequalities. Topics addressed included land tenure systems as a contributor to asset inequality; the role of taxation in financing structural transformation; and the diversification of African economies towards labour-intensive industries and the service sector. In the afternoon, participants heard a framing statement from Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, South Africa, on the importance of statistics for analyzing and assessing inequalities. A panel discussion followed, with participants discussing data for tracking progress and creating evidence-based policies. Following this, they convened in five parallel sessions discussing social and political inequalities in Africa. During discussions, participants reflected on: human rights, discrimination and marginalization; gender inequality, including on policy advocacy to empower young girls; political inequality; equitable access to quality social services; the measurement of progress in addressing inequalities, including strengthening African statistical systems; and challenges and priorities going forward.
Panel (L-R): Juma Mwapachu, President, Society for International Development; Thandika Mkandawire, London School of Economics; and Nii Moi Thompson, Ghana
Juma Mwapachu, President, Society for International Development
|L-R: Lebogang Motlana, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, talking with Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, South Africa|
|Saran Daraba Kaba, Secretary General, Mano River Union||Akua Britwum, University of Cape Coast, Ghana|
|Pali Lehohla, Statistician General of South Africa and Chairman, Statistical Commission of Africa||
A participant commenting on macro and regional perspectives of inequality.
|L-R: Grace Antwi-Atsu and Gertrude Ofarwa Fefoame, SightSavers.Org||A participant between sessions|
L-R: Grace Antwi-Atsu and Gertrude Ofarwa Fefoame, SightSavers.Org
Highlights for Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Closing Speech: Paul Boateng, Former Treasury Secretary and Former High Commissioner to South Africa, United Kingdom The Pan-African Conference on Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation convened for the third and final day of discussions on Wednesday, 30 April 2014. After highlighting progress made during the previous two days, participants took part in a dialogue on policy actions to move forward a global and African equitable development agenda. The morning’s panel identified possible policy actions to effect an equitable development agenda, both globally as well as for Africa. They then convened in three parallel panel sessions on: Economic Inclusion and Equity; Social Inclusion, Social Protection and Equity; and Political Inclusion and Equity. In the afternoon, a panel on aligning political leverage, knowledge and social mobilization discussed strategies and political action to promote the new agenda. The issues addressed by participants included education as a facilitative human unions in promoting equality. During closing plenary, Nii Moi Thompson, Economic Advisor to the President of Ghana, presented the Accra Declaration on Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation. The Declaration, inter alia, called for increasing focus on inclusive growth and policies to promote income and asset equity. Paul Boateng, Former Treasury Secretary and Former High Commissioner to South Africa, UK, in his keynote speech, called for investments in statistics that force practitioners and policy makers to confront the issue of inequality and enable them to “make the hard decisions on priorities that…will be required.” Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Ghana, on behalf of Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Vice President, Ghana, congratulated participants on their hard work and answering the call of the President to go beyond identifying “what we want in Africa and discovering what we need.” Grace Bediako, Ghana Statistical Service, providing final remarks, lauded participants for their work during the conference and for fostering cooperation and collaboration “with remarkable camaraderie.” The meeting was closed at 6.28 pm.
|Takyiwaa Manuh, Director, UNECA||Senator Billow Kerrow, Mandera County, Kenya|
Panel (L-R): Takyiwaa Manuh, UNECA; Rita Matovu, Chairperson, Equal Opportunities
|L-R: Regina Adutwum, Director General, National Development Planning Commission, Ghana, and Neil Pierre, UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs||Adebayo Olukoshi, Director, African Institute for Economic Development and Planning|
Panel (L-R): Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner of Economic Affairs, African Union, and Takyiwaa Manuh, UNECA
|Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Senator, Kisumu County, Kenya||Participants discuss Inequalities between sessions||Participant at closing ceremony|
L-R: Jomo Kwame Sundaram, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, talking with Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner of Economic Affairs, African Union
Participants discuss inequalities between sessions
|Nancy Alexander, Heinrich Böll Foundation|
|Nii Moi Thompson, Economic Advisor to the President of Ghana||Grace Bediako, Conference Coordinator|
Sulley Gariba, Senior Policy Adviser, Office of the President
Paul Boateng, Former Treasury Scretary, United Kingdom, and Former UK High Commissioner to South Africa
Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Ghana