Parliaments Must Be Strong Inclusive Leaders in the Fight Against Poverty in Africa

A second day of parliamentary debates in Addis Ababa turned to key issues of accountability, leadership and oversight of parliaments across the continent as parliamentarians from Ghana, Philippines and Burkina Faso opened the session by pointing to cases of strong hands on parliamentary oversight in their own countries that led to concrete progress on the MDGs.

The honourable representative from Ghana recounted that “our parliamentary committee has made field visits to monitor government health interventions and also visited, our school feeding programme, to ensure that oversight is not just on paper and that we really are really controlling if and how programmes are being implemented.“

Stories of parliamentary work from all over the world was shared, highlighting the leadership of the Philippines parliament in the fight against corruption, the bipartisan support showed by the Spanish parliament for the MDGs, and the engagement in the Caribbean region. “Challenges in your continent and our continent are not that different. So let’s learn and work together.” Said congresswoman Salit of the Philippines.

Lively participation throughout the day from parliamentarians from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Gabon, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, the Gambia, Malawi, Ghana and Kenya among others shaped a consensus; parliaments must invest greater efforts in reinforcing accountability, both in their oversight function to government but – most importantly- towards citizens , with greater transparency and listening. Parliaments are also accountable for achieving the MDGs.

As cross cutting issues of sustainability, resilience, inequality, gender, governance, security and human rights present additional challenges, parliamentarians agreed that the key to making a difference will be inclusiveness. All must take part and feel responsible for achieving the MDGs and shaping the future we want after 2015.

“There should be partnership between parliament, government, civil society, private sector, and it must include women and young people. It should start with greater integration in school curriculum so our children can have ownership for the fight against poverty and the development debates” said the honourable representative of Senegal.

Click Here to view the daily briefing from the All African Parliamentary Conference on the MDGs