Mobilizing international solidarity, accelerating action and embarking on new pathways to realize the 2030 Agenda and respond to COVID-19: African countries, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries

The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying global economic recession will cause a rise in poverty, global economic inequality and inequitable distribution of development gains within and among countries. The least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and African countries will bear the heaviest burden of these impacts. These countries are already vulnerable due to the fragility of their health systems, limited coverage of their social protection systems, limited financial and other resources, vulnerability to external shocks, and significant dependence on international trade and financing. 

In many of these countries the effects of the pandemic are amplified by the ongoing conflicts, instability and climate crisis. The poorest and most vulnerable populations are disproportionally affected, including women, children, older persons, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees and informal sector workers.

Preparations for the fifth UN conference on LDCs in Doha, Qatar (21-25 March 2021) have been slowed down due to COVID-19 but are picking up again. The Conference will provide an opportunity to shape a new action plan for LDCs to build back better, smarter and resilient in the next decade. The mid-term reviews of the Vienna programme of actions led to further commitments to improve the situation of LLDCs.

Proposed guiding questions:

  • How can the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects be used as an opportunity for enhancing resilience and structural transformation in LDCs, LLDCs and African countries?
  • What structural and other changes are needed to address the impacts of COVID-19 such as rising external debt, drop in remittances and tourism or impact on food security?  How can they be accelerated for realizing the decade of action for the SDGs?
  • What specific policy measures and international support are needed to protect medium and small-scale enterprises and their role in the economies of some of these vulnerable countries?
  • What strategies can we use to build back better, smarter and resilient in LDCs, LLDCs and African countries? 
  • What recommendations would you make for the next decade in the context of the future programme of action for LDCs?
  • How can we resume and accelerate progress in achieving the SDGs and delivering on the programmes of action for LDCs and LLDCs and NEPAD? 

Chair:

  • H.E. Ms. Mona Juul, President of Economic and Social Council

Keynote speaker:

  • Ms. Agnes Kalibata, former Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Special Envoy for the 2021 Food System Summit  

Moderator:

  • Ms. Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh

Resource persons:

  • H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, former Prime Minister of Niger and CEO of AUDA-NEPAD
  • H.E. Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General, Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD)
  • Mr. Ahmed Ouma, Deputy Director of Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention   

Lead discussants:

  • Ms. Vanessa Chivizhe, Junior Parliament of Zimbabwe
  • Mr. Trymore Karikoga, Acting Executive Chairperson and VIONet Zim National Coordinator, VIONet Zimbabwe (Volunteers Stakeholder Group)    

Followed by interactive discussion

Respondents:

  • H.E. Ms. Matsepo Molise-Ramakoae, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lesotho
  • Ms. Fekitamoeloa ʻUtoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
  • Mr. Thomas Munthali, Director General for the National Planning Commission, Malawi 
Biographies
Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma
Deputy Director Africa Centers of Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma

Deputy Director Africa Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Ahmed Ogwell OUMA is the Deputy Director of the Africa Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the specialized Technical Institution of the Union charged with the responsibility to promote the prevention and control of diseases in Africa.

Dr. OUMA is an accomplished international civil servant and an expert in global health. He has competency in governance in public health; partnerships and resource mobilisation; health security including health emergencies; the prevention and control of NCDs; building multi-sectoral partnerships; international co-operation across sectors; tobacco control; global health diplomacy; and development of international instruments that impact positively on public health.

Ahmed has worked globally for public health and has overseen implementation of country level policy in countries in Africa. He has been a pioneer in supporting governments in Africa to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and other international instruments for the prevention and control of NCDs.

Before joining Africa CDC, Ahmed was an Advisor in the Global Coordination Mechanism for NCDs in the Office of the Assistant Director-General for NCDs and Mental Health in The World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters, Geneva. Before that he was Programme Manager for Primary Prevention of NCDs and Regional Adviser for Tobacco Control at the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

At the national level, Dr Ogwell was the founding director for the NCDs department in MoH Kenya and also established the Office for International Health Relations.

He has expertise in how government policy can and should respond to neglected health challenges. Having been a senior civil servant in Kenya for over a decade, he is well versed in how governments work, competence in supporting government to achieve desirable public health goals particularly in resource-poor settings.

Ahmed is an alumni of the University of Nairobi and the Centre for International Health at the University of Bergen in Norway.

"I strongly believe that we should use local capacity to solve local challenges while harnessing international experiences, knowledge and skills"

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki

Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki of the Republic of Niger is the Chief Executive
Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), formerly
known as the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency.

He was appointed to the position in January 2009. A former Prime Minister
of Niger, from 1997 to 2000, Dr. Mayaki has a Master’s degree from the
National School of Public Administration (Enap), Quebec, Canada and a
PhD in Administrative Sciences from the University of Paris I, France.
He worked as a Professor of Public Administration in Niger and Venezuela.
From 1996 to 1997 he was appointed Minister in charge of African Integration
and Cooperation and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Niger.

In August 2000, he set up the Analysis Centre for Public Policy in Senegal.
From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Mayaki was a guest Professor at the University of
Paris XI, where he lectured on international relations.

He also led research at the Research Centre on Europe and the
Contemporary World within that university. In 2004, he served as Executive
Director of the Platform in support of Rural Development in West and Central
Africa, the Rural Hub, based in Dakar, Senegal.

H.E. Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari
Director General, Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD)
H.E. Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari

Director General, Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD)

Mr. Khalifa Jassim Al-Kuwari is the Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development, managing the State of Qatar’s foreign aid and international development activities. Since 2014, he led the establishment, strategy-setting, operationalization, partnerships, and funding programs of the Qatar Fund for Development in various developing countries.

Previously, Mr. Al-Kuwari was the Chief Operating Officer of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), where he oversaw the entire business support infrastructure and led several initiatives to improve the performance of support functions. Prior to that, Mr. Al-Kuwari was the QIA Executive Director of Joint Venture and International Business, where he managed the investment joint ventures and government-to-government relations.

He has been appointed to the boards of leading companies and institutions such as Harrods, Volkswagen Group, Fairmont Raffles Group, Songbird Real Estate, Qatar Exchange, Katara Hospitality, and Mowasalat. He was also appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Islamic Bank of Britain, and Qatar and Algeria Investment. Mr. Al-Kuwari was a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Qatar Mining Company. He is also interested in social work within the State of Qatar, and was elected to the Board of Directors of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, which includes social institutions such as Nama, Ehsan, Shafallah, Dreama, Wifaq, and Aman. Mr. Al Kuwari is the president of Qatar Leadership Centre Alumni Association Council, and a member of Qatar university Alumni Association. He is also a Chairman of the Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST) Board of Advisors.

Mr. Al-Kuwari started his career as an accountant and investment manager, and handled various responsibilities at the Qatar Central Bank and Ashghal & Urban Planning Authority. He acquired in-depth experience in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, and investment management.

Mr. Al-Kuwari holds an Executive MBA in Business Administration from the London Business School in UK, an MBA in Accounting from Cleveland State University in the USA and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Qatar University. He graduated from the Leadership Development Program at Harvard Business School in the USA and Qatar Leadership Center. Mr. Al-Kuwari also passed the Chartered Accountants' Examination in Ohio, USA.

H.E. Ms. Mona Juul
Seventy-fifth President of the Economic and Social Council
H.E. Ms. Mona Juul

Seventy-fifth President of the Economic and Social Council

Her Excellency Mona Juul was elected seventy-fifth President of the Economic and Social Council on 25 July 2019. Ambassador Juul is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations in New York.

Ambassador Mona Juul was previously Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2014-2018), Director General for Security Policy and the High North in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011-2014), Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York (2005-2010) and Chair of the 1st Committee of the 61 session of the United Nations General Assembly (2006).

She served as Ambassador to Israel (2001-2005), accredited to Cyprus for the same period. State Secretary/Deputy Foreign Minister at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000), Special Advisor/Ambassador/Middle East Coordinator in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997-2000) chairing the AHLC (Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on Assistance to the Palestinians). She was Minister Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv (1994-1997). Her first posting was at the Norwegian Embassy in Cairo (1988-1990).

Mona has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1986, during which time she has gained broad diplomatic experience. This includes working in the Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1992-1993) and member of the small Norwegian team that facilitated the secret negotiations between Israel and the PLO leading to the Oslo Agreement.

She holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Oslo.

Ambassador Juul was born 10 April 1959 and is married to Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen. They have two children.

Mr. Trymore Karikoga
Acting Executive Chairperson and VIONet Zim National Coordinator, VIONet Zimbabwe (Volunteers Stakeholder Group)
Mr. Trymore Karikoga

Acting Executive Chairperson and VIONet Zim National Coordinator, VIONet Zimbabwe (Volunteers Stakeholder Group)

Trymore founded Budiriro Think Tank (BTT) an organisation whose thrust is youth social and economic emancipation making use of individual and collective talents as tools for sustainable development. In 2009 He was part of the team that set-up Zimbabwe Youth Organisations Network (ZIYON) that latter became National Association of Youth Organisations (NAYO). In 2013 he founded Volunteers Federation (VF) whose thrust is volunteer coordination, promotion, protection and strengthening as backbone for sustainable development. In 2013, he Co-founded Young Volunteers for the Environment Zimbabwe (VYE-Zim) whose trust is on environment and climate change. Trymore founded Community Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited (CSC) whose thrust is Micro-to-Small business development and financial inclusion. Since 2018 Trymore champions the establishment of VIONet-Zim and is its current Executive Chairperson. At continental level in the volunteer circles, Trymore is part of the founding team on the Network of African Voluntary Organisations (NAVO) whose aim is to promote volunteerism in Africa and in the Global South as large. Trymore is championing the process of getting the volunteer contribution included in the Zimbabwe VNR 2020 report to be presented at the HLPF 2020.

Ms. Agnes Kalibata
former Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Special Envoy for the 2021 Food System Summit
Ms. Agnes Kalibata

former Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Special Envoy for the 2021 Food System Summit

As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Dr. Kalibata works with the United Nations system and key partners to provide leadership, guidance, and strategic direction towards the 2021 Food Systems Summit. She is responsible for outreach and cooperation with key leaders, including governments, to ensure the Summit serves as a catalytic process within the Decade of Action to improve food systems around the world to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement.

Since 2014, Dr. Kalibata has also served as President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), where she leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.

Prior to joining AGRA in September 2014, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that moved her country from a food insecure to a food secure status and became a reference point for other countries that sought to deliver agriculture transformation. Dr. Kalibata has held several other leadership positions, including Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda. She also worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Uganda, and various other agricultural development organizations. She sits on various boards, councils and commissions including the Global Commission on Adaptation, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, the Global Panel for Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition, the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP), the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, and Africa Risk Capacity, among others.

Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader. She was awarded the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize, in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège in 2018, an Honorary Doctorate from McGill Univeristy in 2019, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in April, 2019 for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern sciences and effective policy thereby improving livelihoods of stallholder farmers. Dr. Kalibata holds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Ms. Fahmida Khatun
Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh
Ms. Fahmida Khatun

Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh

Dr. Fahmida Khatun is currently the Executive Director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh. She accomplished Masters and PhD in Economics from the University College London. She did her Post-Doctoral research at Columbia University, USA. Prior to joining CPD she worked as a Research Fellow at the BIDS; as an Environment Specialist for the UNDP; as an Economist for the USAID Mission in Bangladesh. She taught economics at universities in Bangladesh and England. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Christian Michelsen Institute, Norway, at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, South Korea and Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, India.

Dr Khatun is a member of the Panel of Economists for the Eighth Five Year Plan (2021-25) formed by Bangladesh Planning Commission. She is also a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Human Development Report to be prepared by the Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. She was a Director of Janata Bank Limited, the second largest state-owned bank of Bangladesh and a Director of the SME Foundation of Bangladesh.

Dr Khatun has undertaken research for several international organizations. Her areas of interest include macroeconomic policy, aid effectiveness, international trade and WTO issues, youth unemployment, health issues, social inclusion and poverty eradication, climate change, interests of Least Developed Countries, Sustainable Development Goals and women’s contribution to the economy. She has published widely at home and abroad. She is a columnist of the Daily Star, a leading daily in Bangladesh. She is also an invited contributor to the East Asia Forum.

Ms. Vanessa Chivizhe
Junior Parliament of Zimbabwe
Ms. Vanessa Chivizhe

Junior Parliament of Zimbabwe


Vanessa Chivizhe is a 17 year old who was voted Vice Chairperson in the SADC Regional Young Women Network last year in Lusaka. She is also the Junior Minister of ICT and Courier Services in Zimbabwes Junior Parliament. During her time of office she has represented the youth on a number of high level panels.

Statements
Statements
Agnes Kalibata - AGRA
Fekitamoeloa ʻUtoikamanu - OHRLLS
H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki - AUDA-NEPAD
H.E. Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari - QFFD
H.E. Ms. Matsepo Molise-Ramakoae - Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lesotho
Remarks by Dr. Thomas Munthali
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Statement by H.E. Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari
Statement by Mr. Trymore Karikoga
Statement on Behalf of the NGO Major Group
Thomas Munthali - National Planning Commission, Malawi
United Nations