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Transforming Africa: An Agenda for Action by Economic Commission for Africa

By Economic Commission for Africa

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O f the 23 countries where nutrition problems are most severe (defined as having a per capita kilocalorie deficit greater than 300 per day), 19 of those countries are in Africa . 'The situation is bad, but not hopeless. Ghana and Nigeria have seen rapid improvements in national nutrition standards. But why is the situation so disappointing in Africa? I think there are three reasons. 'The first reason is the havoc that military and political instability plays in food production and nutrition. At the top of the list of those countries in Africa with the largest per capita food deficits are Somalia, Mozambique, Burundi, Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Niger and Ethiopia.

There will be mobilisation on the African Consensus on HIV/AIDS. 'There will be follow-up with heads of state and government officials. And there will be a Leadership Challenge to be met by scaling up the national and international partnership against HIV/AIDS in Africa. We must resolve that this Forum will shake the remaining complacency and ignorance about HIV/AIDS. One northern non-governmental organization, working on a range of development projects throughout Africa, has just announced that 80% of its program next year will be on HIV/AIDS.

The paper prepared for this meeting by my colleague Jost Antonio Ocampo brilliantly outlines what the new financial architecture should be. It merits close attention. Consider this: with little in the way of formal education, a woman entrepreneur in Southern Africa, assisted by an international financial institution, has started a flourishing tourism business. She takes foreign visitors into her modest home, feeds them traditional foods and takes them to the game parks. Her website can claim this to be a truly African experience.

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