Investments needed to make Africa a champion of economic growth
Dear South African comrade,
Last week, media around the world broadcast heartbreaking footage of a young boy adrift off the coast of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. He was clinging to a makeshift buoy made of plastic bottles and desperately trying to get ashore.
Over the years we have grown used to seeing images of African men, women and children crammed into makeshift boats and rafts trying to reach Europe. According to humanitarian organizations, more than 20,000 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean since 2014.
As we celebrate Africa Day tomorrow, these tragic stories remind us of the enormous task we have to build a better life for all the people of Africa.
As we celebrate the progress we have made towards building a peaceful and prosperous continent, events in far-flung North Africa show that we still have a long way to go.
Life is so difficult for millions of people on our continent and the opportunities are so rare that they would risk their lives crossing the sea in search of a better future.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made people who are already suffering the effects of conflict, underdevelopment and poverty even more vulnerable.
African economies have been severely damaged and growth prospects are drastically reduced. Many of the continent’s development gains can be reversed as the fight against the pandemic takes precedence over other national priorities such as poverty eradication. Although low-income countries are particularly vulnerable, middle-income countries like ours have also been hit hard.
To support the continent’s economic recovery, African governments have worked through the African Union (AU) to mobilize significant funding to achieve their development goals.
Last week, I joined several African leaders at a summit in Paris hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron on financing African economies in the post-Covid-19 era.
South Africa reiterated its support for a comprehensive and solid economic recovery plan for Africa in order to contribute to the recovery. But we have said that this should not be a substitute for official development assistance.
We welcomed the steps taken by financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support low- and middle-income countries, and called for further action to support vulnerable countries. This would include an allocation by the IMF of so-called Special Drawing Rights, where, based on membership quotas, around $ 33 billion will be released to increase the reserves of African countries. African leaders have argued, however, that an amount of $ 33 billion, while welcome, is not enough to address the challenges facing the continent. While the more developed economies are expected to receive a large chunk of the $ 650 billion in Special Drawing Rights to be issued, we believe that 25% (which equates to $ 162.5 billion) should be made available to countries. Africans.
Other measures would include increased concessional financing by international institutions and development agencies, and additional measures led by G20 countries to provide African countries with debt relief.
In what has been described as a New Deal for Africa, leaders and international organizations have recognized that we share the collective responsibility to implement financial relief measures for African countries in distress.
The international experience with Covid-19 has been a lesson in the importance of collaboration between African countries and with our international partners. Our gains as a continent are due to the fact that we have both drawn on our own capacities and worked with the international community.
As an African country, we want to help ourselves and not be told what is good for us. The principle of “nothing about us without us” must be applied. It is important that we assert our sovereignty as free and independent states capable of determining the fate of our continent.
While countries have immediate financing needs, a sustainable economic recovery can only be ensured if we increase levels of investment on the continent. Investing in African economies will help make Africa the next champion of global growth.
The African Continental Free Trade Area will play a key role in continental recovery. We also envision a greater role for the continental network of African public development banks to mobilize funds to support key projects in the areas of health, education, infrastructure, green growth and others. sectors.
African leaders recognize the centrality of good governance, public debt management, financial integrity and the creation of a more favorable climate for private sector investment in their economies.
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented levels of unity and cooperation among African countries. He has seen the continent strengthen its ties with the wider international community and global institutions.
As we celebrate Africa Day, let us step up our efforts to achieve sustainable and lasting social and economic recovery for African citizens. Ours must become a prosperous and prosperous continent, not a continent whose people die trying to leave.
As a country, we are part of Africa and Africa is part of us. What is happening in one part of our continent affects us all, and therefore we must work together to emerge from this crisis and make our continent grow and prosper.
I wish you all a happy Africa day.
With my best wishes,