Finance Ministers of African Countries have urged Africa to deploy innovative resource mobilization and accelerate economic recovery from multiple crises which have eroded two decades of development gains and increased poverty.
In a Ministerial Statement adopted at the 55th session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Ministers reiterated the urgency of transforming Africa’s economies and driving industrialization. They underscored the need to expedite economic recovery in Africa which is likely to miss many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate change will hinder Africa’s efforts to achieve the SDGs and Agenda 2063, the Ministers said the triple crises have disrupted food and energy markets, exacerbated food insecurity and caused high inflation rates which have pushed millions of Africans into poverty and economic hardship.
According to the Finance Ministers, Africa needs to invest approximately $66 billion in its health systems and health infrastructure, adding that: “Financing to close infrastructure deficits will amount to between $137 billion and $177 billion by 2025.”
In addition, the Ministers recognised that meeting SDG targets to eradicate extreme poverty and reduce inequality within seven years in line with the 2030 Agenda, is becoming increasingly unlikely. Poverty and inequality in Africa will therefore pose high risks to prosperity, peace and security, and to the social contract.
The Ministers, therefore, acknowledged the need to stimulate economic recovery and to protect vulnerable populations against soaring inflation – which was forecast to reach 12.4 percent in Africa in 2023.
“Rising interest rates, and the tightening of monetary policy by central banks to combat inflation have contributed to the worsening of the already limited fiscal space.”African Finance Ministers
Implementation of AfCFTA To Attain Agenda 2030/2063
According to the Ministers, the Agreement in the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will increase intra-African trade in agrifood, services, industry, energy and mining while attracting cross-border investments.
This was noted in a statement calling on the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to support the continent with strategic thinking and new perspectives achieve prosperity by 2030 and realize the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.
The Acting Executive Secretary for ECA, Mr. Antonio Pedro in closing the conference, said in order to foster recovery and transformation in Africa, the continent should prioritize skills enhancement, industrialization and economic diversification, infrastructure development, intra-Africa trade and innovative financing.
“We have the mandate to deliver on our promise of shared prosperity to the people of Africa. Sustainable solutions must be developed by Africa and partnership and collaborations were key to a transformed Africa.”Mr. Antonio Pedro
It can be recalled that Mr. Pedro speaking on African countries to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in order to become more resilient and globally competitive, the ECA secretary pointed out that despite Africa’s economic growth of 3.9% in 2023 and 2024, more still needs to be done to compensate for the losses experienced in the past three years.
According to him, by fast-tracking the implementation of the AfCFTA, Africa can provide solutions to the global challenges of supply chain disruptions, food insecurity, climate change, and migration.
Highlighting the importance of the AfCFTA, Mr. Pedro noted that AfCFTA will provide the economy of scale to invest in manufacturing and increased intra-Africa trade. He added that the free trade area would bring supply chains closer to home and inject self-sufficiency in essential products such as medicines, food, and fertilizers.
“By providing more opportunities for women and the youth, the AfCFTA helps reduce inequality and poverty, and improves inclusion.”Mr. Antonio Pedro
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