African Ministers reaffirm commitment to Millennium Development Goals
04 April 2008
African Ministers of Finance and Development Planning concluded their 3-day meeting with a statement reaffirming their commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa by 2015. The statement called for Governments to act urgently to scale up public sector investments in infrastructure, agriculture, health and education. Special mention was made to fulfill the commitment made in the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other related infectious diseases to allocate 15 per cent of their budgets to health issues.
As part of national strategies to achieve the MDGs and other internationally agreed goals, the Ministers resolved to increase domestic spending on the MDGs, ensuring that resources from debt relief, revenues from natural resources and other sources are channeled towards meeting the Goals.
In an address to the conference, UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot indicated that AIDS increases demands for state spending on health and welfare and at the same time depletes the workforce, reducing governments’ ability to raise taxes, in some countries by 20 per cent.
In several countries most affected by AIDS, there is a need for additional fiscal space for the AIDS response. How this space is created will depend on the individual situation of each country. Dr Piot emphasized the urgent need to change the eligibility criteria for overseas development assistance to reflect the extent of the epidemic and not base it on income levels alone. This will enable highly affected low and middle-income countries to benefit from favorable funding conditions and mechanisms.
The meeting of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Finance, which took place from 31st March to 2nd April, addressed new challenges facing Africa in the 21st century, and the new international economic environment within which they must be tackled.