More resources for children and women from income/natural resource rich countries in West and Central Africa
BRAZZAVILLE, 10th April 2013 – The first regional workshop on “UNICEF West and Central Africa Economic and Social Policy Strategy in Middle Income/Natural resource rich Countries” will be organized from 10th to 12th April 2013 in Brazzaville, by UNICEF Regional Office for West and Central Africa and UNICEF-Congo.
The main objective of the workshop is to initiate a reflection with governmental, civil society, private sector partners and international Organizations with proven expertise in the field on what should be UNICEF’s positioning and contribution to Economic and Social Policy planning in MI/NRR countries, to the benefit of vulnerable groups.
Participants include UNICEF specialists from West and Central Africa middle income countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the UN system, Congo Government Parliament representatives, civil society organizations and the private sector.
Out of the 24 countries covered by UNICEF West and Central Africa Region (WCAR), the vast majority is either ranked as middle income and/or relies on natural resource extractive economies, such as petrol, gold, uranium, diamond and bauxite.
Compared with the low income countries with few natural resources, these States have great development potential and financial resources. However, challenges such as unequal distribution of economic growth, high population’s growth, rapid urbanization and climate change threaten their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In order to overcome these obstacles and attain fundamental economic and social development goals, a more socially-inclusive growth pattern is required.
“Through the National Programme for Development, our Government reaffirms its commitment to the development of a non-contributory social protection that takes into account the most vulnerable populations including children, women, elder and poor people. A series of measures for free education, malaria treatment for pregnant women and children, access to HIV-AIDS tests and anti-retroviral treatments represent our Government’s commitment to take into serious account the problems of the most vulnerable populations. The implementation of a program of social transfers will be an effective way to reduce poverty. Nevertheless much remains to be done, especially as the availability of financial resources is not supported by an optimal management mechanism and a national expertise in the domain”, said the Head of the Ministry of Planning, on behalf of Mr. Raphael Leon Mokoko, Minister for Planning and Integration. "In the past three years, UNICEF has been supporting the Congolese government in implementing institutional reforms to improve the management of public finances and we strive to provide quality technical assistance, particularly in the context the development of social policies in favor of children and women. Today, these efforts result in an improved prioritization of interventions and an enhanced and more rational use of available resources”, affirmed Ms. Marianne Flach, UNICEF Representative in the Republic of Congo.
This three-day regional event held in Brazzaville will be an opportunity to share UNICEF’s and other partners’ experience in support of economic and social policies in MI/NRR countries, as well as to lay the foundations for a future development of a common strategy in the region with the aim to harness the economic potential of these countries to the benefit of the most vulnerable groups.
For more information, please contact:
Jean Marie Samuel OUENABIO, Assistant/InfoComm,