Mid-Term Review of Africa Economic Recovery Programme to Be Made in September

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An Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole of the General Assembly will meet in early September to review and appraise the five-year UN Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990. "A timely opportunity for action", United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar said.

Delegates will assemble just prior to the opening of the 43rd General Assembly to consider the SecretaryGeneral's report on implementation of the plan of action, adopted on 1 June 1986 at a special session of the General Assembly.

The Programme is based on two "central elements": Afr'ican determination and commitment to launch national and regional programmes of economic development; and the commitment of the international community to support African development efforts.

African countries under the Programme of Action promised to implement focused and practical activities, priorities and policies and to pursue vigorously appropriate policy reforms. They also undertook to fully mobilize their domestic resources to those ends. Priority areas include: agricultural development, drought and desertification, human resources development, and socioeconomic policy reforms.

The international community recognized that the African countries needed additional external resources and agreed to try to provide sufficient resources to supplement the African development effort. International action would centre on: improved external aid and co-operation, increased official development assistance, and assistance to deal with existing financial constraints on African countries,

The United Nations SecretaryGeneral was asked to co-ordinate the support of the United Nations system for that purpose.

A year after the Programme's adoption, the Secretary-General reported that the international response had not so far been adequate.

The Advisory Group on Financial Flows to Africa reported in February 1988 that there was a significant gap which had to be bridged if Africa's effort to reactivate development and raise living standards was to succeed. It concluded that additional financial support is essential if the Programme is to succeed.

That Group, headed by Sir Douglas Wass, former head of the United Kingdom Treasury, was appointed by the Secretary-General to examine the external flows of resources to Africa and to recommend ways and means to ensure that the resource flows are adequate for the successful implementation of the Programme of Action.

Among its major conclusions:

* Sub-Saharan Africa must obtain a minimum of $5 billion a year in additional financial resources to cope with current economic plight;

* Many countries had to gain debt relief beyond traditional rescheduling arrangements. …