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Leveraging Digital Technologies To Tackle Multiple Crisis

African nations must effectively utilize development planning as a transformative tool to enhance resilience and sustainable development amidst ongoing crises, as highlighted by speakers at a side event on development planning entitled “Harnessing Digital Technologies for Integrated Planning to Promote the SDGs and Agenda 2063 in Times of Multiple Crises” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The virtual event was coordinated by the Macroeconomics and Governance Division (MGD) and the Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa (SRO-EA) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) during the 10th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Antonio Pedro, Deputy Executive Secretary (ECA), emphasized that global development frameworks like the Millennium Development Goals and Poverty Reduction Strategies have influenced the development priorities of countries by emphasizing social development and the elimination of extreme poverty.

Mr. Pedro stated, “Development planning in Africa is now being shaped by both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Continental agenda, Agenda 2063: The Africa we want.”

He added, “These agendas collectively prioritize sustainability, ethical and responsible technology use, climate action, investment, industrialization, and human-centered development, urging development planners to reassess their priorities and paradigms to align with these goals.”

Furthermore, he noted that African countries are also dedicated to other agendas such as the Doha Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Countries, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction.

Hassan Hosow, the Executive Director of the National Executive Council of Somalia, emphasized that despite the country’s recovery from civil war, significant progress has been made in terms of economic recovery, peace and security, and the re-establishment of international relations.

Given Somalia’s fragile state, Hosow stressed the need for a long-term vision for development beyond immediate debt relief and the lifting of the arms embargo imposed by Al Shabaab. He emphasized that achieving this vision would require political commitment, strong national leadership, and the establishment of appropriate institutional arrangements.

Alastaire Alinsata, the Chief of Staff for the Minister of Development and Coordination of Government Action in Benin, highlighted the government’s focus on agricultural mechanization as part of the national development plan. The aim is to alleviate the burden of labor in farms and improve productivity.

To ensure successful implementation, Alinsata mentioned that the government provides training through agricultural training schools it has established. Additionally, a special industrial area spanning over 10,000 hectares has been designated, with 75% of the area dedicated to textile and apparel processing.

Bartholomew Armah, the Chief of Development Planning in the Macroeconomics and Governance Division at ECA, discussed the Integrated Planning and Reporting Tool (IPRT) developed by the ECA. This web-based planning tool aims to enhance the responsiveness of planning frameworks to the evolving development landscape.

The goal is to strengthen the capacity of planning entities in designing and implementing integrated planning systems and strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063. The IPRT utilizes digital technology to align international commitments with national plans, link budgets to development priorities, identify gaps in national development plans, and track their performance.

It is essential for nations to possess comprehensive development planning frameworks that encompass their national, regional, and global obligations, while also being in harmony with financial frameworks. This is due to the fact that existing planning approaches often lack cohesion across sectors and institutions, leading to the erosion of synergies, unnecessary duplication of efforts, and inefficient utilization of limited resources.

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