Africa: SPA Partnership commits to reform aid to support country poverty programs

Press Release No: 2003/203/AFR
ADDIS ABABA, January 17, 2002 - The countries and organizations making up the Strategic Partnership with Africa

  • SPA - committed themselves to an agenda of actions to increase their aid to Africa, and to improve its efficiency and quality. This was agreed today at their annual plenary meeting, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 16-17.

The Partnership, which since 1987 has mobilized $44billion in quick-disbursing support for economic reform to African economies, is the principal forum for aid mobilization and coordination for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Partnership meeting's key results were:

  • A commitment to improve the effectiveness of aid by ensuring that all aid supports country-led national poverty reduction strategies. Partners would intensify their efforts to coordinate and streamline their requirements at the country level, while working to build stronger capacity in African governments to implement poverty reduction;

  • An expansion of the Partnership to include African states and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as full participants, along with donor partners1;

  • A commitment to implement the pledges to significantly increase aid flows to Africa made in Monterrey, Mexico and at the G8 summit last year. Many participants indicated their specific plans to increase aid in line with these pledges, and donors committed to report annually on their actual and planned aid flows.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi opened the meeting and called upon donors to base all aid on the PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper) and channel most aid directly through national budgets. Accepting that "the key bottleneck to development in Africa is governance," he urged donors to deliver more effectively on aid promises and reduce micromanagement of aid.

ECA Executive Secretary K.Y. Amoako briefed the meeting on work underway with ECA and the OECD Development Assistance Committee to define mutual accountability between African governments and development partners.

"We need a contract among development partners based on three pillars," he said: "NEPAD and good governance, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and effective aid."

World Bank Vice President for Africa Callisto Madavo, chair of the meeting, said SPA was being "transformed from a donor's club to a genuine partnership with Africa," and was committed to "aligning donor programs behind national strategies, and reducing the burden on African partners by simplifying donor procedures."

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1 Participants included: The World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mozambique, NEPAD, The Netherlands, Norway, OECD Development Assistance Committee, Rwanda, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, United Kingdom, UN Development Program, and the United States of America.

Media Contacts:

In Washington: Raymond Toye (202) 458 1653
Fax: 202 473 7917

In Addis Ababa: Fekerte Getachew
Phone: (251-1) 62 77 00
Fax: (251-1) 62 77 17