October 2012, Geneva, Switzerland - The first decade of the twenty-first century has been characterized as the “decade of Africa’s economic and political renewal”. The continent achieved remarkable progress in economic growth while at the same time expanding the scope for democratic governance in a large number of countries. Growth in Africa averaged more than 5 % a year, and the pattern of growth has been generally consistent. A handful of African countries have registered annual growth rates of 7 % to 11 %. More importantly, the continent demonstrated its resilience through its quick and robust recovery from the shocks of the global economic and financial crisis. However, a number of key issues remain and must be addressed as a priority for African countries to realize their full development potential. 

Held from 17 September to 26 October 2012, the first two joint UN ECA/UNITAR e-Learning courses not only included valuable learning content, but also provided an interactive platform for the 266 delegates and officials who participated to network and discuss issues important to their work. The course was skilfully moderated by experts from UN ECA. It is also worth mentioning that female delegates and officials made up nearly one third of participants (29% on average). 

The diversity of participants from across the African continent rendered very lively and insightful discussions about pertinent issues such as the future African Continental Free Trade Area, free movement of goods, people and services in Africa, recent developments in the world economy and their implications for Africa, and how to mobilize resources for structural transformation at the continental level. 

The courses were very well received with 94% of participants indicating in the course evaluation that they are completely or mostly satisfied by their course, and 91% of participants who would recommend their course to a colleague.

Below are comments received from course participants:

“I would like to thank UN ECA and UNITAR for according me an opportunity to participate in this course. It has been very educative and I hope to use the skills I gained in contributing to the development of our continent.“ - Ms. Dorah Likukela, Republic of South Africa.

“To the organizers, thank you very much for the good work in identifying a very relevant topic and for the opportunity. It was well worth every minute and the lesson learnt will be useful for my work.” – Ms. Jennifer Gache, United Republic of Tanzania.

Registration is currently open for the final session this year, which will start on 19 November 2012. Please visit http://www.unitar.org/event/pfat

For additional information about UN ECA please visit http://www.uneca.org/


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