Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

African Parliamentarians to Play Their Part in Poverty Alleviation

At the conclusion of the 35th conference of African parliamentarians (in APU-African Parliamentary Union) on their role in implementing poverty reduction strategies, African lawmakers have resolved to reaffirm that parliamentarians, as representatives citizens, need to be involved in processes and talks that have an impact on national development.

The Parliamentarians had concluded that the causes of the poverty are multidimensional, connected in particular to inappropriate economic strategies, conflicts, corruption, external debts, natural disasters and absence of good governance. They therefore urged parliaments in their respective countries to truly exercise their constitutional powers, particularly budget and executive oversight.

"We call on all the African parliaments to take actions aimed at truly contributing to the wording of general policies and strategies against poverty, namely through adequate budget allocations on the one hand, and the monitoring and evaluation of national development programs on the other," said Blessing Chebundo, an MP from Zimbabwe who led the committee which analyzed the role of parliaments in poverty reduction.

Chebundo added that, to ensure that growth strategies and poverty reduction will help, parliaments have to build peace and good governance, promote democracy and human rights, fight corruption, promote a strong, sustainable and fair growth, master demographic growth and develop the processing industries of products to create added value jobs. "We also have to promote the participation of the poor populations in the development and develop the access to education and relieve the school charges by promoting the free access to education. In this respect, Rwanda is a role model through the 12-years basic education."

Parliamentarians also resolved that mechanisms for funds transparency and management be put in place to guarantee that resources are allocated according to the priorities.

"As lawmakers, we have to ensure the implementation of the objectives laid down at international and national levels regarding equality and women's development. Poverty alleviation must put particular emphasis on women's issues because they form a vulnerable group," Chibundo remarked. "Therefore we invite the governments to include the gender dimension in poverty reduction programs, by simplifying access to land and developing micro-credits particularly for women and youth."

The APU 35th conference delegates agreed to approach their governments with a view of including parliamentarians in official delegations attending international meetings with financial institutions and bodies.

"This will help us in our job of ensuring, when discussing the budget, that adequate resources are allocated to the economic areas hit by the effects of globalization," said Edna Madzongwe, the APU's chairperson. "Governments and our parliaments have to speed up progress towards the achievement of the MDGs, by evaluating the outcomes with respect to these goals and by considering a post-2015 national development agenda."

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