• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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African leaders fashion growth path, bemoan underdevelopment

AU-Summit

In what appears as a regenerated commitment to the continent, African leaders yesterday in Addis Ababa, expressed renewed commitment to the development of the continent, using both internal and external funding.

Speakers were unanimous in their submissions that although the continent had witnessed growth in the last decade, it was devoid of inclusiveness, with the inequality gap increasing on daily.

They spoke at the ongoing 8th joint annual meeting of the First African Union (AU) specialised technical committee of ministers of Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration at the 48th Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of African ministers of finance, planning and economic development.

They said that at a point when the world was preparing for a new global development outlook, by way of post 2015 development agenda and its sustainable development goals (SDGs), Africa would strive to harness her natural resources, so as to become a force to reckon with in global affairs.

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However, the platform for the achievement of these objectives, according to them, would be the Agenda 2063, adopted by the Heads of State and Government, during the January 2015 ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, with the objective of harnessing, resourcing and exploiting ways of raising funds to accelerate development.

It sets a new vision for the commitment of all stakeholders to the successful implementation of this agenda, which has some priority implications in the area of development planning, citizen mobilisation and financing for development, which also requires specific action to be taken.

They also agreed that there are untapped resources that could be raised from within Africa, enough to cover about 70 percent of the development financing needs.

They further alluded to recent data which confirmed the success of many indigenous African growth and development initiatives through domestic finances, noting that as at today, the largest share of Africa’s infrastructure funding comes from national, which is 65 percent, followed by private investors with 25 percent.

The speakers at the conference include Anthony Mothae Maruping, commissioner for economic affairs, African Union Commission; Abdalla Hamdok, deputy executive secretary, UN economic commission for Africa and Abraham Tekeste, state minister of finance and economic development, Federal Democratic Rrepublic of Ethiopia, among others.

According to Maruping, the agenda was not the first African development framework, but “this differs from the previous ones in that it is based on a broad spectrum of consultations with African stakeholders, on existing framework, programmes, resolutions, declarations, constitutive instruments, and analysis of national and regional strategic frameworks.”

He challenged the participants, saying: “Recognition and acceptance of the fact that Africa cannot successfully implement Agenda 2063 without adequate and dependable financing should be the driving force behind participants’ discussions for the next three days.”

Hamdok, for his part, acknowledged the fact that Africa is on the rise with consistent growth, occasioned by improved macroeconomic management and prudential fiscal policies, rising domestic demand and growing demand for her commodities.

“Despite the continent’s commendable economic performance, we all know that this growth has been largely jobless and non-inclusive in nature. As a matter of fact, in some African countries’ economic, growth has been accompanied by higher rates of inequality,” Hamdok said.

He added that it was a matter of regret that the continent had remained trapped in low value addition activities which had continued to deprive her of the benefits of huge natural resources.

“Africa currently represents only 1.8 percent of the world’s value added activity in manufacture and the bulk of its exports to the rest of the world are made up of 63 percent of oil. These realities do not constitute sustainable pathways to achieving the continent’s ambitions for prosperity for all,” Hamdok said.

He explained that Agenda 2063 was a product of long term continent-wide development plans, including the 1980 Lagos plan of action, Abuja Treaty of 1991 and the new partnership for Africa’s development (NEPAD).

Tekeste holds that implementation of the Agenda will not be business as usual, adding, “African has turned a new leaf. Pragmatism through this framework is prevailing.”

He said that the successful implementation of this agenda had some priority implications in the area of development planning, citizen mobilisation and financing for development, which required specific action to be taken. It is with this understanding that the organisers of the conference selected the theme” ‘Implementing a gender 2063 planning, mobilising and financing for development.’

“There is recognition within Africa that the continent needs to tap into its own wealth to finance its development agenda, most notably Agenda 2063,” he said.

The minister further said that securing finance for the agenda was one of the biggest challenges ahead, stressing that Africa needs not only funds, but also a more effective and inclusive means of channelling funds where they could be most effective and where markets currently fail to  reach.

He added that Agenda 2063 would be implemented at continental, regional and national and sub national levels, and that this should involve engagement of the public and private sectors with clear delineation of the incentives for Africans for the success of the agenda.

JOHN OMACHONU