April 07, 2020: Africa’s finance ministers have called for an initial support package of $100 billion in 2020 to cushion their nations from impacts of the pandemic.

With the coronavirus pandemic raging on the continent, members of Bureau of the Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) recognised the unprecedented and serious challenges being caused by Covid-19. Bureau members, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Liberia, and Morocco, pledged their full commitment to expand outreach and to take and promote concrete actions in following-up and implementing the outcomes of the sixth ARFSD.

The bureau agreed that Covid-19 reinforced the need for stronger global and regional partnerships if the sustainable development goals are to be fully achieved and to build resilience to social, economic and environmental shocks and calamities.

Member states and other actors were urged to take urgent and collective measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, provide the necessary support to affected communities and address the social and economic implications of the pandemic.

Chaired by Zimbabwe’s public service, labour, and social welfare minister Paul Mavima, this was the Bureau’s first meeting since the adoption of the Victoria Falls Declaration on the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development in Africa.

The Decade of Action calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges, ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.

The Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) recent analysis on the impact of the pandemic estimates that economic growth on the continent is expected to drop from 3.2 percent to 1.8 percent. As of March 2020, a decline of 1.4 percentage points is expected due to Covid-19 effect.

The action plan, which will be implemented with the support of ECA, regional organizations and the rest of the UN Development System, recognises the challenges and need for quality and timely data and statistics for evidence-based planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting on the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

The Bureau is expected to finalise by August, the strategic framework of the Solidarity Fund for Statistical Development in Africa, as agreed in the Marrakech Declaration of the Fifth session of the regional forum; and develop a regional strategy to operationalise the Victoria Falls Declaration and delivery for sustainable development and key messages of the sixth regional forum by November 2020.

Outcomes of the Victoria Falls forum will be conveyed to the 2020 meeting of the High-level political forum on sustainable development to be convened under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in July.

The ARFSD is an intergovernmental forum convened by the ECA in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, and agencies of the UN system.

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