Bilateral Economic Cooperation: UNECA Executive Visits Cameroon Today

Vera Songwe, Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa will be in Cameroon, April 17-19, to strengthen ties.

Cameroonian-born Vera Songwe, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will begin a three-day working visit to Cameroon today. It will be her first official visit to the country ever since she took up the role on August 3, 2017. According to a press release sent to Cameroon Tribune, the visit would enable her strengthen ECA's cooperation ties with Cameroon, especially in support of its efforts towards inclusive and sustainable development, structural transformation, economic diversification, regional integration and trade, as well as the digital economy.

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The Executive Secretary of ECA is expected to hold discussions with several Cameroonian State authorities upon her arrival in the country. Still today, she will give closing remarks at an ECA-organised national awareness and information forum on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The free trade agreement will soon go operational following its ratification by 22 African member States. On Thursday April 18, Vera Songwe will give a lecture on regional inte gration and the digital economy at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC).

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The Executive Secretary will also meet with members of Cameroon’s UN country team with whom she will have conversations about the reforms of the UN Secretary General kick-started in 2017 to make the organization fit for purpose in a changing global environment - the reforms emphasize the need to systematically interlink development; peace and security; and humanitarian challenges facing the world in the UN's response to member States' needs.

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Her visit will end on Friday April 19, with a press conference at Hilton Hotel, Yaounde. UNECA sources say the Executive Secretary will likely, during the visit call on central African States to take advantage of their potentials to increase government revenue by between 12 and 20 per cent of GDP by taking advantage of the recommendations of the Economic Report on Africa 2019 published by ECA.

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Vera Songwe had noted during ECA’s 52nd session in March 2019 that “Africa can raise the U$680 billion [circa FCFA 394 trillion] a year needed to deliver on the SDGs in a decade,” by adopting appropriate fiscal policies, taxing of hard-to-reach sectors and leveraging digitization in development programmes, instruments and practices.

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