Ja to lead the way - Peter Phillips, the voice of CARICOM at UN development conference
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:
It was like stepping 50 years back in time. A city bursting at the seam with potential. Concrete blocks and steel declare the prospect of new high-rise buildings on nearly every street corner.
Roads straining under the weight of heavy-duty equipment. Cars with model dates of the 1970s and older fighting for space on streets still lined by shacks and other remnants of the past, but now laden and stacked with debris and building material.
Yesterday, the only game in town was the graduation of one of Africa's largest and most prominent learning institutions, the Addis Ababa University. Tens of thousands trekked into the city from rural areas for the occasion. The army had to be called out to man major thoroughfares as hundreds of graduates and their families took over the city.
Financing of global development
Addis Ababa is the face of Africa under reconstruction. It is the place where Jamaica's Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips and his team from the ministry will meet with their colleagues trekking in from across the world over the next few days to discuss the way forward for the financing of global development.
CARICOM, through the voice of Philips, is expected to make its presence felt and to lay out its agenda in the global development top circle.
With the promise to address new and emerging issues, including recent multilateral efforts to promote international development cooperation, this Third International Conference on Financing for Development, sponsored by the United Nations and hosted by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, intends to find solutions to obstacles and constraints encountered in the agreed development process, and to suggest a course of action and initiatives to overcome these hindrances.
The conference is expected to arrive at an agreement in the Addis Ababa Accord, on a range of modalities for financing sustainable development, both domestic and international.
Sustainable development goals
It will also address issues relating to the new sustainable development goals to be agreed on in September 2015.
It provides Jamaica with an opportunity to participate in the dialogue on formulating initiatives related to the mobilisation of resources for development, as well as to communicate concerns and imperatives relevant to middle-income and small-island countries like those in the region.
These imperatives include building resilience as the basis for inclusive growth, middle-income designation and access to development finance, debt and debt sustainability and domestic resource mobilisation within the context of fiscal sustainability.
While the signs of growth in Addis Ababa are more than evident, the majority of its citizens remain poor small farmers or menially employed, but their hope rests in finding a place in the emerging of a new order. Even if they are not aware of the stated objectives of the gathering of politicians and top-ranking delegates in their hometown, they are full of hope that only good things will come to Addis Ababa.
"Give us 10 years and we will look like any First World country, we are on the move," said taxi driver Dagin Yeheyes.
But for many of yesterday's graduates, the outlook remains outside, as jobs and opportunities are still too far in coming.