Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
New York, 20 September
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here today and present our report on the Mutual Assessment of Development Effectiveness.
As noted by the Executive Secretary Janneh, this is an excellent example of the growing partnership between our two institutions. The report is also a valuable exercise in mutual accountability, assessing the delivery of commitments by both Africa and its partners, the results achieved, and future priorities.
This report, the third since 2005, is particularly timely, coming as we meet here in New York to review progress against the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The recent economic and financial crisis has set back some of the progress, which Africa had started to achieve, leaving the continent with steeper challenges to face over the next 5 years to the MDG target date of 2015.
If there is one clear lesson from the crisis, it is that in our interconnected world, the prospects for Africa are inextricably linked to what happens in the wider global economy. I wish to, therefore, focus on 4 key messages for the international community, highlighted in the report.
We need to step up action in international economic governance. Africa’s efforts in domestic resource mobilisation need to be complemented by effective international action to tackle tax havens, illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption. These are all important areas of OECD work and I am happy to report that significant progress has been made over the last 18 months. Since April 2009, over 325 tax information exchange agreements have been signed and over 160 tax treaties have been negotiated or re-negotiated.
New mechanisms are being introduced to strengthen implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. But this is an unfinished agenda. We must strengthen our collective efforts against tax havens, weak transfer pricing regimes, and illicit financial flows in Africa, which are wasting scarce resources for development.
We also need to re-double our efforts to drive forward multilateral trade liberalisation. Africa was badly hit by the decline of trade levels following the economic and financial crisis. The OECD joint monitoring work with the WTO and UNCTAD shows that governments have largely resisted protectionist pressures to impose trade restrictions in the wake of the crisis. But resisting protectionist measures is not sufficient. We need further market opening. Africa’s international partners must inject political will and momentum to reach an early, ambitious and balanced outcome to the Doha development round.
We must direct aid to where the need is greatest. We should strive collectively to meet the target of 0.7% of rich-countries' gross national product to Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2015. This is not just about aid volume, it is about aid effectiveness, and where we spend it. OECD data shows that Africa’s share of net global ODA has fallen since 1990, and remained almost unchanged since 2005. This is one of the reasons why Africa faces the greatest challenges in meeting the MDGs and its share of the world’s poor is expected to rise to 40% by 2015. Africa’s share of global aid needs to increase. While, domestic revenue is the main source of finance, aid has a critical role to play to supplement domestic resources and catalyze other financial flows.
We need to tackle climate change, and provide additional resources to assist mitigation in Africa. Africa has contributed least to climate change, yet it is profoundly affected by its impact and has fewer resources to cope with it. We are at a critical juncture, with COP16 due to start in just over 2 months. The international community must agree on ambitious and binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The OECD, in partnership with other international organisations, is assisting G20 leaders in their effort to phase out wasteful fossil fuel subsidies contributing to global warming. In 2011, we will deliver a ”Green Growth” strategy, which will set out policies for future low carbon growth. But this is a global challenge and OECD countries alone will not do the job. The donor community needs to scale up financing to support both adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, including Africa, to reach $100 billion annually by 2020.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We have seen a remarkable transformation since 2000, when the MDGs were adopted. But enormous challenges remain. The crisis and new global challenges have changed the game for Africa’s partners. While aid remains important, our agenda needs to reach across much broader issues.
We need to do this together. The OECD stands ready to work with its partners every step of the way.