This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Post-2015 MDGs - Okonjo-Iweala Calls for Increased Investment in Energy, Transport

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has called for a strategic focus on infrastructural development particularly in the transport and energy sectors as the main target of post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda.

Okonjo-Iweala said this Monday in Abuja at the MDGs Sub-National and Thematic Consultation on the Post-2015 Development Framework Workshop organised by the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on MDGs, Mrs. Precious Gbeneol, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

She noted that a key aspect to the Post-2015 Agenda should be to complete the "unfinished business" started under the MDGs' framework as poverty eradication should remain in focus, while recognising the new global challenges, a decade and a half from the inception of this original framework.

Okonjo-Iweala said augmentation to the current development in post 2015 would "ensure an increased focus on enablers of economic development and also update current targets making them relevant to a post-2015 world."

Citing example of the targets set on education, the Minister of Finance noted that while primary education enrolment rates had been the headline indicator under MDGs, targeting improvements in secondary and tertiary education, incorporating practical and vocational skills would be more important under the post-2015 agenda.

"To tackle the challenge of employment in the continent, there is need to focus on increasing investment in infrastructure, particularly within energy and transportation, therefore, the post-2015 framework should include indicators such as electricity consumption, per capita density of road network, percentage of population with access to electricity, improved water resources and roads.

"This national consultation presents an opportunity to comprehend impediments at differing levels of society and for different groupings within Nigeria. It is an essential exercise in what is a crucial process," she added.

Earlier, the presidential aide on MDGs, Gbeneol, expressed a move by her office to broaden inclusion and participation in the post-2015 development agenda with conveyance of sub-national and Thematic Consultation on the post-2015 development framework.

Gbeneol said the forum underlined the shared importance of ensuring that the planning process for a Post-2015 development agenda needs an inclusive and participatory foundation. She assured Nigerians that the country's contribution will be taken into consideration in the formulation of the development agenda.

She emphasised the importance of the forum, saying: "MDGs framework has been lauded for focusing developmental attention on key aspects such as poverty, health and education indicators, Although it has been criticised for the lack of inclusion in their formulation, as such, efforts are focused on ensuring this it is not the case during the Post-2015 consideration."

The special adviser noted that while it was agreed that poverty eradication and other "unfinished business" of the MDGs should remain the overarching framework for any Post-2015 Agenda at an Expert Group Meeting held in May and June 2012, participants at both events also emphasised the need to include stakeholders from sub-national levels in the consultative process that reflects the development aspirations of these key players.

"In line with these recommendations, my office, in collaboration with the United Nations Country Team and the National Working Group on Post-2015 Planning, embarked on an exercise to involve sub-national structures in this important process.

"We are now gathered in an historic event at this Sub-national and Thematic Consultation on the Post 2015 Agenda to determine the future we want," she said.

Gbeneol listed another initiative of her office to broaden participation in the process of formulation of post-2015 development agenda to include MY World Survey being carried out in collaboration with the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

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