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Lost African Professionals Must be Replaced

African Professionals Lost To Migration And HIV/AIDS Must Be Replaced, UN Says

With Africa losing professionals to the brain drain and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, policy makers met today for a United Nations-sponsored workshop on using donor assistance more effectively to educate and train replacements.

The Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Josephine Ouédraogo, said the workshop aimed to help participants "re-evaluate and improve development partners' approaches to support capacity development in Africa."

Participants in the two-day event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, called "Capacity Development in Africa: Effective States and Engaged Societies," are policymakers from Governments, multilateral institutions, universities and research institutes. Its sponsors are the ECA, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

"What is needed is to urgently bolster the quality and efficiency of the continent's human capital, physical infrastructure and climate for business transactions, mediated by sound economic policy and effective institutions, particularly in an era when HIV/AIDS is rapidly eroding capacity in many countries," Ms. Ouédraogo said in a speech delivered on behalf of ECA Executive Secretary KY Amoako.

She recalled that in 1996 the ECA Conference of Ministers approved the "Framework Agenda for Building and Utilizing Critical Capacities in Africa" and in 1998 the African governors of the World Bank proposed establishing the "Partnership for African Capacity Building (PACT)."

The overwhelming evidence from studies by ECA and others, however, showed that, despite past efforts, the lack of trained workers in state and non-state institutions continued to impede poverty eradication, she said.

According the ECA's research, incentives are needed to stem the flight of Africa's own talent and the people involved in public and private governance "must be encouraged to be transparent in their operations and held accountable for their actions."

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