Mark Swilling delivers keynote
The Seventh Joint Annual Conference of the UN Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance took place in Abuja, Nigeria, 27-31 March 2014. Mark Swilling was invited to deliver a keynote address to a Side Event hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa to address the theme Greening Africa's Economies and Structural Transformation. Opening remarks were delivered by Carlos Lopes, UN ECA Executive Secretary and Un Under-Secretary General. The Chairperson was Fatima Denton, Director of Special Initiatives in the UN ECA. The Africa Regional Director for UNEP, Mounkaila Goumandakoye, delivered the first talk on 'Towards a Green Economy Roadmap for Africa'. He cited 20 African countries where meaningful progress is being made to formulate and implement green economy policy frameworks. He made it clear that it takes 7=10 years to reap the benefits of these policies.
The Panel that was invited to respond to the keynote address by Mark Swilling included the following: H.E.K.Y Amoako, Director of the African Center for Economic Transformation in Ghana and former Executive Secretary of the UN ECA; Dr. A. Tekeste, Ethiopia's State Minister of Finance and Economic Development; H.E. Henri Djambo, Congo's Minister of Sustainable Development, Foresty Economy and Environment; Dr. Musheibu Mohammed Alfa, Ghana's Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; and Adnan Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Text of the Talk by Mark Swilling:
"As an African who spends a lot of time anticipating African futures, I often get asked where I draw my inspiration. I used to refer to two great African texts: Ben Okri's Mental Fight and Wangari Mathai's speech when she received the Nobel Prize. But there is a third that I can put on this short list. I am referring to the speech by Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, 30 January 2014. This speech, for those of you who may not have read it, is an email written in 2063 looking back at how Africa had been transformed during the 50 years since 2013 into a peaceful place where everyone can live a good life.