Jun 26, 2015, 9:57 AM
The event took place at the United Nations Conference Centre and brought together members of the diplomatic corps and partners of the ECA to reflect on key areas that Mr. Janneh has rallied the Commission around during his seven years of dedicated service.
Presentations highlighted many of Mr. Janneh’s areas of interest and advocacy, including regional integration and Africa’s policy direction and choices in an uncertain world.
Other topical issues, including financing Africa’s infrastructure, governance and development, mineral resources for development, were debated.
In a tribute to Mr. Janneh, Andrew Hama Mtetwa, deputy dean of the African Diplomatic Corps described him as an ‘indefatigable son of the United Nations, who re-oriented the ECA discourse from one of reliance on market forces to the need for a developmental state that can respond better to the challenges of growth and development.”
“We will remember you for consolidating synergies with the AU and reinstating the full dignity of the relationship between the ECA and the Ambassadors,” said the Zimbabwean ambassador.
Lamin Barrow, Resident Representative African Development Bank described Mr. Janneh as “quietly influential” and highlighted the role he had played in “putting the ECA on a firm footing to continue to discharge, manage and articulate issues touching on African development.”
“Under your leadership, ECA has issued topical, relevant publications and analytical products on timely issues and given voice to Africa’s aspirations on the global financial crisis, the food and fuel price increase, as well as on climate change,” he said.
“We will remember you as a development activist, partner par-excellence and a veritable pan-Africanist,” he added.
UK Ambassador Greg Dorey spoke on behalf of the group of development partners, and praised Mr. Janneh for the radical changes ECA has made in the way it works with sister organizations. These changes, he said, “have greatly improved working relationships with development partners.”
“Under your leadership, you made bold moves that met with resistance, yet you consistently made persuasive arguments with respect to the intrinsic links between the African Union, the African Development Bank and the ECA,” he noted and added: “The beauty of it is that you did this for a common and beneficial purpose, in light of the massive impact the three organizations could deliver on issues such as climate change.”
The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Ms. Bience Gawanas, launched two publications in honour of Mr. Janneh.
The first, ‘Integrating Africa’, contains speeches delivered by Mr. Janneh on the role Africa can play in global affairs. The second, ‘Reflections on Africa’s Development’ is a collection of essays written in his honour, on topical issues that the ECA focused on under his leadership.
Ms. Gawanas underscored that Mr. Janneh has transformed the ECA into an organization that is more capable of responding to the continent’s demands.
Abdalla Hamdok, ECA deputy Executive Secretary, said that Mr. Janneh was leaving on a high note and underscored the partnerships he managed to forge with the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank to address the development challenges of the continent.
Mr. Janneh thanked the diplomatic corps and the representatives from partner institutions for their support. He emphasized the need for ‘continued partnership and strengthening between the United Nations system and the African Union to better respond to the priorities, and meet the needs of member states.’
Present at the seminar were members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the African Union, the African Development Bank and development partners and the UN Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia.
A national of The Gambia, Abdoulie Janneh took office as the Under- Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in 2006. Under his term of office, Mr. Janneh will be remembered for being instrumental in strategically re-positioning the organization to better support Africa’s development agenda.
Mr. Janneh made efforts to enhance partnership building for Africa, which he considered a necessary vehicle to mobilize support and build inclusiveness for shared development objectives. He cultivated strong partnerships at the highest levels.
The outgoing Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA also served on the advisory panels of a number of organizations involved in Africa’s development, and has delivered over the years many keynote addresses, policy statements and written articles on issues germane to Africa’s development.