Enact robust national ageing policies, ECA’s Muhwava urges African governments

Africa needs to intensify efforts to put in place effective mechanisms that will cater for the needs of its older population, says William Muhwava, Chief of the Population and Youth Section in the Economic Commission for Africa’s Social Development Policy Division.

Addressing participants attending a two-day expert group meeting for the third review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing in Africa (MIPAA), Mr. Muhwava, who spoke on behalf of his Director, Thokozile Ruzvidzo, said Africa needs to put in place policies that will ensure that the rights of its older people are catered for and that those who would have contributed to the well-being of their countries were not neglected in old age.

“As such, advocacy efforts are needed to improve the adaptation and domestication of policies for older person and encourage appropriate consultations with older people in these processes,” he said.

Mr. Muhwava said there was need for continuous advocacy to ensure the allocation of resources for the implementation of commitments by member States regarding older people.

The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and the Political Declaration, adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in April 2002, marked a turning point in how the world addresses the key challenge of building a society for all ages.

The plan offers a bold new agenda for handling the issue of ageing in the 21st-century and focuses on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments.

Mr. Muhwava said while Africa is often described as the continent with the youngest population, the age structure in the region was changing gradually, adding at the ECA, they continue to stress the fact that ageing is going to be a crucial part of Africa’s development framework.

“ECA recognizes that older people have their vulnerabilities, but also have their capabilities. Ageing issues until recently were considered a low priority and more focus was placed for a long time on addressing challenges of young people rather than addressing older persons’ development challenges,” he said.

Mr. Muhwava added the ECA was prioritizing ageing issues in its programmes and would continue to work with member States to help them craft policies that will cater for the needs of their older people.

Most older people in Africa are supported through their families, a practice Mr. Muhwava said would no longer hold as a means of social security at the rate at which ageing was taking place on the continent. He said governments should urgently consider expanding national pension coverage for older persons.

“Overall, apart from children and persons with disabilities, older persons are the social group most vulnerable to many social challenges facing Africa, particularly poverty, food insecurity, violence, inadequate social welfare services and civil strife,” he said.

Since its adoption, MIPAA has undergone review and appraisal every five years and Mr. Muhwava pledged ECA support in ensuring that its work on older persons, including the MIPAA review process, were aligned with international development frameworks.

The experts will in the next two days review the implementation of MIPAA on the continent and identify gaps and emerging issues that need to be addressed. They will suggest specific recommendations to accelerate MIPAA implementation in Africa. Findings under review suggest Africa has made progress in policy formulation but still has a long way to go in implementation.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with non-governmental organizations on the situation in the Central African Republic

The Secretary-General met yesterday with a group of non-governmental organizations on the situation in the Central African Republic. The Secretary-General welcomed the role of non-governmental organizations in raising the profile of the situation in the Central African Republic and in providing assistance.

The Secretary-General and the non-governmental organizations discussed the complex challenges confronted by humanitarian actors operating in the country and exchanged views on the upcoming renewal of the mandate of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Optimize opportunities presented by urbanization, ECA official tells African policymakers

Urbanization can play an immense role in the economic and social transformation of Africa hence the need for the continent to harness the phenomenon for a long-term inclusive and sustainable vision and goals by unleashing the potential of cities to be drivers of local, regional and national level economic and social development.

This was said Monday in Addis Ababa by Saurabh Sinha, Chief of Employment and Social Protection in the Economic Commission for Africa’s Social Development Policy Division (SDPD) to participants attending an experts group meeting on integrating urbanization in national development planning for inclusive and sustainable cities in Africa.

“However, while urbanization is necessary for structural transformation, it is not sufficient,” said Mr. Sinha, who was speaking on behalf of SDPD Director, Thokozile Ruzvidzo.

“The quality of cities can facilitate the growth of productive sectors, or can constrict it. In particular, the extent to which a city is productive and competitive matters.”

He said a strategic national response to the urbanization wave in Africa must be accompanied by strategic sectoral national policies that adequately factor spatial considerations.

“Such policies are important instruments to optimize the opportunities and minimize negative externalities of urbanization while being informed and guided by national development vision, goals and objectives,” said Mr. Sinha.

He pointed out that despite commitment at highest levels and the strategic importance of cities, the integration of urbanization into African national and regional policy frameworks as a cross-cutting factor had been limited.

Urbanization, he noted, is still being perceived from a compartmentalized viewpoint with focus on specific issues such as housing, infrastructure, slums and environmental degradation.

Mr. Sinha said concerns remained about the inclusiveness and sustainability of Africa’s growth in recent years as the continent continues to face a host of challenges, including high unemployment, inequality and poverty as well as high vulnerability to external shocks.

“There is wide agreement across the continent that the main challenge confronting Africa is therefore not only to maintain robust economic growth, but also to transform it into sustained and inclusive development based on a new economic model which is based on economic diversification, with a special focus on industrialization and modernization of agriculture,” he said.

Mr. Sinha said a key foundation for accelerating structural transformation was the formulation of long-term national development plans, adding evidence around the world suggests that linking economic and urban development generated positive interactions and spillovers that improve productivity and well-being.

Experts attending the meeting, including policy makers, are in the next two days expected to review and validate a report by the ECA’s SDPD on the integration of urbanization in national development planning on the continent.

The report aims to strengthen member States’ knowledge and capacities in integrating urbanization into national development planning frameworks and processes to promote inclusive and sustainable cities for Africa’s structural transformation.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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Freedom Park Receives the Names of the Soviet Russian Heroes and Heroines Who Fell in The South African Liberation struggle

Freedom Park will today hold a ceremony to honour and pay tribute to the Soviet Russia people who contributed to the South African liberation struggle. The Russian Ambassador His Excellency Mikhael Ivanovich Petrakov, will hand over the names of the fallen heroes and heroines to Freedom Park CEO Jane Mufamadi.

As South Africa celebrates the centenary of Oliver Tambo, this event could not be more opportune. The event rekindles the close relationship these heroes and the entire Soviet Russia community had with the late struggle stalwart, Comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo.

This momentous event will be attended by Ambassadors and High Commissioners from other countries resident in Pretoria, government officials, officials from related institutions and Researchers.

Freedom Park is mandated to honour those who died in the struggle for freedom and humanity and to foster reconciliation, social cohesion and nation building in the country. This is better reflected in its memorialisation of over 85 000 heroes and heroines who perished in the eight conflicts that shaped South Africa we have today. These conflicts include pre-colonial wars, Wars of resistance Genocides, Slavery, First World War, Second World War, South African War and the Liberation struggle.

On the liberation struggle, Freedom Park narrated and exhibited the four pillars that defined people struggles against the most heinous and diabolic system called apartheid, correctly defined by the United Nations as a crime against humanity. The four pillars of the struggle against apartheid were: underground struggle, armed struggle, mass struggle and international solidarity.

Freedom Park, could not be more proud, to be the conduit of Soviet Russia political, social and economic footprints in the African continent. These names will remain an epitome and eternal testimony of true global diplomatic relations between Soviet Russia and South Africa.

Media is invited to attend as follows:
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2017
Venue: Freedom Park, Pretoria
Time: 13h30 -16h00

Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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