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Digital technologies can unlock new pathways for inclusive growth in Africa – AU Commissioner

Digital technologies can unlock new pathways for inclusive growth in Africa – AU Commissioner

Albert Muchanga, the African Union (AU)’s Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals has said digital technologies can offer Africa a great chance to unlock new pathways for rapid, inclusive economic growth and job creation.

He revealed this at the recent 55th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

“Mobilisation of domestic resources should be prioritised with a particular emphasis on fighting illicit financial flows, which deprive the continent of approximately $90 billion annually,” he said.

He said the continent needed to raise the requisite funding to develop its digital knowledge base to achieve growth. “Africa’s growth is rebounding at 4.1 percent, and inflation has slowed to 12 percent, he said, adding that what was needed to achieve a breakthrough on the continent was double-digit growth.”

The commissioner recognised the continent’s successes in adapting some of these technologies, particularly in mobile money services.

“But these transformations must expand beyond current levels to achieve the objectives of Agenda 2063, create a massive number of jobs for the youth, and tackle poverty and inequalities,” he said.

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He added that committing to UNECA’s program on inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa to support the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the Africa Development Bank’s High Five strategic priorities would help improve livelihoods on the continent.

According to Muchanga, the commission had partnered with the African Development Bank and the AUDA-NEPAD to embark on a study on achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa,”

“The study’s target would be the achievement of a prosperous continent based on inclusive growth and sustainable development anchored on 7-10 percent growth rates between 2023 and 2063.

“The study, which prioritizes human capital development and harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend, will be completed by December,” he said.

In his remarks, Antonio Pedro, acting executive secretary of UNECA, said Africa is at the centre of global sustainability transitions, including electrification of transportation infrastructure, accelerated deployment of renewable energy, demographic dynamics, and climate action.

“These transitions should underpin Africa’s path towards recovery, ensuring structured transformation to economic diversification, building resilience, and achieving sustainable and inclusive growth in line with Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063,” he said.

Kenneth Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Minister of Finance, said Africa could not continue with the present global financial architecture in which its countries lack access to the resources needed for recovery. “The toolkit that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have is inadequate to support where Africa needs to go.”