Africa needs adequate financing to tackle poverty – ECA
By Lucy Ogalue
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), says Africa needs adequate financing to tackle poverty on the continent and cushion the vulnerable groups while meeting its long-term development objectives.
Acting Secretary-General of ECA, Antonio Pedro, said this during his closing remarks at the 55th Meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Pedro said these were part of the issues prominently deliberated upon at the conference, which he urged organisations to ensure they followed up on.
“ We saw from presented evidence that the effects of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, the looming debt crisis and climate change impacts characterise the deep and interlocking crises in Africa.
“Therefore, overcoming these challenges, occasioned by the overlapping crises, will require African countries to formulate innovative and multifaceted strategies that provide a range of policy options.
“Thus, the continent needs sufficient energy, the right infrastructure mix, agricultural and food systems that are resilient to external shocks, and climate mitigation measures that reduce the impact of climate change,’’ he said.
According to Pedro, innovative and scalable solutions are imperative and must be developed for Africans by African countries and investing in green sectors in Africa has significant benefits.
He said green and blue bonds, debt-for-climate investment swaps and carbon credits offered unique opportunities to raise the resources necessary for development on the continent.
He said:“ value addition in mining is yet another avenue for resource mobilisation that has remained largely unexploited on the African Continent.
“A just energy transition remains an imperative for the continent, and universal access to electricity and sustainable industrialisation are essential for Africa’s economic transformation.’’
The acting secretary explained that implementing the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) continued to be the blueprint for the African pro-poor economic recovery.
He stressed the need to expedite the agreement’s implementation, given its innumerable benefits to member states, including resilience to shocks.
“We acknowledge that harmonisation of the AfCFTA protocols and domestication of the national AfCFTA strategies are critical for speeding up its implementation.
“The Commission is working toward streamlining the agreement’s national strategies within the UNCT’s programmes of work as a first step toward mainstreaming the AfCFTA within the UN entities,’’ he said.
On the management of debt crises, Pedro reiterated the urgent need to reform the global financial architecture to level the playing field for both low and middle-income countries.
Pedro expressed the commitment of ECA to strengthen its collaboration with the African Union (AU) Commission, particularly in supporting the continent with strategic perspective thinking.
He said the commission would also ensure foresight studies on achieving prosperity by 2030 and speed up the process of realising the objectives of agendas 2063 and 2030 in Africa.
Pedro said ECA was committed to deepening support to member states in improving their data and statistical systems.
“Working closely with the AU, we will continue building quality and harmonised SDG data ecosystems.
“We have taken note of the member states’ suggestion to form peer-learning groups to tap into the richness and diversity of innovations and successful policy interventions across the continent.
“ECA will be reaching out to your respective organisations with the modalities for taking this request forward,
“We will support Member States, the AU, regional economic communities, intergovernmental organisations and other development partners to achieve Africa’s structural transformation, social and economic recovery and sustained growth,’’ he said.
The acting secretary said ECA would support interventions around the pillars of trade, sustainable industrialisation, economic diversification, and regional integration.
Pedro said the commission would also support macroeconomic policy for sustainable and inclusive development, poverty, gender and social policy, private-sector development and innovative financing, data, statistics and digital transformation, climate change and the green economy.
“We have the mandate to deliver on our promise of shared prosperity to the people of Africa.
“We were reminded during the deliberations that Africa must develop sustainable solutions and that strengthened partnership and collaboration are key in delivering to our people a transformed Africa.
“Let me end by challenging each of us to rise to the occasion and ensure this century belongs to Africa,’’