The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched the Africa Poverty Clock, which is a customized version of the World Poverty Clock developed by World Data Lab, aimed at monitoring progress against extreme poverty.
The World Poverty Clock is an aspiration of the United Nations’ first Sustainable Development Goal – SDG1. The Clock provides real-time poverty estimates till 2030 for the majority of countries around the world.
Ms Vera Songwe, ECA Executive Secretary speaking at the launch which marked activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of ECA, said many African countries have achieved remarkable progress over the last six decades.
However, “we have seen African economies labelled as some of the fastest growing in the world.
“Africa today is an Africa that has risen and one whose economic autonomy is underway, moving from political independence to economic independence,” she stated in a paper to the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Accra.
She, however, indicated that African countries rank as some of the worst economic and social indicators.
Ms Songwe noted that inequality and poverty remain persistently high, with over 400 million people living in extreme poverty, “The achievement of prosperity remains elusive and there is a demand to do better.
“Africa is home to 70 per cent of the world’s most poor people and current projections show that all countries of the region are off track to achieving the SDG of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.
“There is a need for bigger and bolder actions to accelerate the pace of sustainable economic growth and development. We need better insights, knowledge and innovative partnerships”.
Ms Songwe also used the occasion to congratulate staff, past and present for their contributions towards the progress of ECA.
She said: “We must continue to listen and engage with member States and other key stakeholders, including the private sector, academic institutions and civil society organizations to ensure that ECA’s activities respond to the new and emerging challenges of the continent and the aspirations of Africans.”
She said, an estimated 40 million jobs will need to be created every month by 2020 to absorb the number of young people entering the workforce.
In his remarks, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen congratulated the ECA for its contributions to the Continent’s development.
He and said: “ECA has been the most important and effective institution in development our knowledge across a range of issues relevant to Africa’s development”.
He emphasized ECA’s support to the process of the realization of the Continental Free Trade area, the role it has played in Africa’s transformation agenda and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.
“It is an anniversary that underlines the effective solidarity and real cooperation of the ECA and Africa”, he said and added that the commemoration was taking place at an exciting time of change and reform in the country, as well as the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator congratulated the ECA for its role in promoting economic and social development of Africa and fostering regional integration since its founding.
Mr Kwesi Quartey, AUC Deputy Chairperson provided a poignant historical overview of the ECA and the importance of its founding at a time when many African countries had not gained independence.
To mark the occasion, a series of events took place in the ECA Sub-regional Offices as well as in Addis Ababa.
Other dignitaries who participated were Ambassador Elsadig Omer Abdalla, Deputy Head of Mission and Charge d’Affaires, Republic of Sudan were among high profile personalities who participated in the launch.
Others includes members of the Diplomatic Corps and key representatives from partner institutions, Think Tanks, Civil Society Organizations, University Students, High School Students and the Private Sector were in attendance.
Source: CDA Consult