ECA Executive Secretary calls on North African countries to "Build forward together" for a faster and stronger economic recovery after the Covid-19 UNECARbat, 18 November (ECA) – "North Africa is the southernmost region of our continent after Southern Africa, and although most of its countries are not in the low-income category, COVID-19 has made its economies vulnerable. When the G20, the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank meet next time, we want to call for a substantial package for Africa and the case for better lending rates, including countries like Morocco or Egypt that are already entering the market". This was stated by the E Read more »

Rabat, 18 November (ECA) – “North Africa is the sub-region of our continent next to Southern Africa, and although most of its countries are not in the low-income category, COVID-19 has made its economies vulnerable. “G20, OECD, the IMF and the World Bank meet, we want to ask for a substantial package for Africa and put the case together for better market rates for loans, also for countries like Morocco or Egypt that have already gone to market.” This was stated by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe, in her remarks at the opening of the 35th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) for North Africa on Tuesday 17 November.

Me. Songwe elaborated on several important measures taken by the ECA to support member states in mitigating the impact of the crisis. These include the adoption and harmonization of regional policies to facilitate emergency and essential trade within the African continent; encouraging the emergence of pharmaceutical hubs throughout the region, including in North Africa; and the use of digital tools to facilitate the exchange of information between citizens and governments and to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.

“We need to see how we can ensure that we build back better, build forward together and grow out of this crisis in a sustainable way,” she added.

North Africa, which has so far registered the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region after Southern Africa, is expected to suffer severely from the pandemic, both in health and economic terms. ECA projections for 2020 estimate that growth will reach negative figures in North Africa, at a + 3.7% growth rate in 2019, with a heavy impact on a wide range of fields ranging from tourism to extractive industries, trade and money.

While North Africa was halfway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2019, with significant progress in poverty reduction, access to education and basic services, these achievements are now threatened.

Two reports were presented to member states during the meeting. They focus on the key macroeconomic challenges of the COVID19 crisis and the short-, medium- and long-term reforms needed, as well as the progress made so far by Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. in the implementation of both Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063.

In general, participants agree on the need for increased coordination between North African countries.

“We believe that it is necessary to establish a collaborative and coordinating framework with development partners and, in particular, ECA, to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure the effectiveness of the actions taken in support of development,” Sidi said. Mohamed Ferhane, Director-General for Economic Forecasting and Policy at the Algerian Ministry of Finance and chair of the 35th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for Senior Officials and Experts for North Africa.

The Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), Secretary-General Taïeb Baccouche, reiterated that his organization’s continued support to member states in cooperation with sub-regional and regional organizations, and for the formulation of practical recommendations for the design of sustainable development programs to help accelerate subregional and regional integration “.

Participants also started discussions on joint recommendations in a number of areas, including:

– Strengthening regional integration in North Africa, in particular within the framework of the AfCFTA to make full use of the agreement

– The need to strengthen co-operation between member states regarding market regulations, education, R & D, etc. To provide national companies with wider market access, facilitate investment in infrastructure, adapt their education systems to the new post COVID-19 context, and better position North Africa in global value chains

– Promoting the adoption and adaptation of digital technologies through the accelerated development of e-government, investments in digital infrastructure and the development of the digital economy

The introduction of policy changes through the adoption of planning, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of job creation programs, together with clear performance measurement indicators.

The Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) is an annual statutory meeting aimed at taking stock of performance and evaluating economic and social conditions in the sub-region. The annual meeting also gives strategic orientations for the coming year. This year’s edition of the ICSOE meeting for North Africa comes with the theme, “Restoring COVID-19: Policies and Strategies for North Africa”.

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