Regional, global challenges compound vulnerabilities in Africa: UNECA official

By Xinhua
On 27 September 2023 at 07:00

The compounded effects of climate change and other regional and global challenges have further exacerbated the existing vulnerabilities of many people in Africa, a senior UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) official said Tuesday.

"The COVID-19 pandemic, impacts of climate change and supply constraints due to the Ukrainian crisis that soared inflation and tightened monetary and financial conditions have exacerbated the existing vulnerabilities of many people in our regions," Jean Luc Mastaki, the director of the UNECA sub-regional office for Central Africa, was quoted by a UNECA statement as saying.

Mastaki made these remarks during a four-day meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) for Central and Eastern Africa, jointly organized by the UNECA and the government of Burundi. The meeting opened Tuesday in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Mastaki called on participants in the ICSOE meeting to deliberate on tackling the main challenges facing eastern and central African countries, with the aim of boosting industrial and agricultural production with quality and environmental standards.

Mama Keita, the director of the UNECA sub-regional office for Eastern Africa, said that climate change, high food prices, and supply chain disruptions are causing hunger and malnutrition for millions in Central and Eastern Africa. Keita urged participants in the meeting to discuss ways to address the barriers to food security and the potential of digital food platforms, which can facilitate the easier and more cost-effective exchange of food products and information among producers, consumers, and traders.

According to the UNECA, the meeting brought together ministers and high-level policymakers, representatives of international organizations, private sector actors, youth representatives, UN officials, academics, and media practitioners from seven central and 14 eastern African countries, respectively.

The high-level meeting aims to establish Central and Eastern Africa as sources of quality products and investment destinations of choice, with the goal of accelerating industrialization, economic diversification, and strengthening food security, the UNECA said.

According to the UNECA, the meeting will discuss the current and future economic prospects of the central and eastern African regions, which are facing multiple economic and social challenges in the wake of recent global challenges.

The meeting is expected to propose policies, strategies and options to promote intra-African trade in order to increase the quantity and quality of production in the regions so as to strengthen food security, promote economic diversification and attract more investment, the UNECA said.