The 10th African Economic Conference observes that African countries have to be empowered with skills and knowledge to be able to effectively and efficiently mobilise domestic resources to actualise sustainable development goals
PARTICIPANTS at the just ended 10th African Economic Conference are of the view that African countries need to be empowered with requisite skills and knowledge to be able to mobilise domestic finance to implement the sustainable development goals, SDGs. The SDGs were adopted in New York recently. According to the participants, African countries seeking to finance their own development in the context of the post-2015 SDGs agenda and against the backdrop of receding donors’ aid, have to be empowered to be able to innovatively mobilise innovative domestic resources efficiently and effectively.
Panelists, who spoke on the theme “Operationalising the SDGs to Promote Inclusive Growth and Transformational Development in the Context of Addressing Poverty and Inequality in Africa,” at the plenary of the conference, which took place in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Tuesday, November 3, stated that more efforts are need to minimise leakages in the collection of domestic resources that are needed to implement the SDGs.
They stressed that while the challenge of eradicating poverty with close to 1 billion people still living in extreme poverty is huge, meeting this challenge head-on is achievable as there is enough money in the world including in Africa countries to end poverty and drive sustainable development.
There is a general agreement that development financing for the future should move beyond aid from governments to include private investment and innovative financing.
While African countries are already funding their development from domestic resources, panelists argued that governments have to deal with illicit flows, with companies that do not pay taxes, and contracts in natural resources that are obliging Africa to mobilise more domestic resources.
At least $4 trillion is needed annually to finance SDGs, according to a release posted on the website of the African Development Bank which organised the conference in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA.
“There is a lot of potential to mobilise resources locally,” said Kapil Kapoor, director of Strategy and Operational Policies, African Development Bank. Kapoor underscored the need to intensify efforts to mobilise domestic resources to finance SDGs.
Kapoor also emphasised the need to improve accountability by monitoring how the mobilised resources are utilised to enhance efficiency.
He noted the need for a holistic and multi-stakeholder approach to financing that recognises the roles of all actors, including the domestic public and private sector, transnational corporate actors and development banks.
He specifically pointed out that African Development Bank has committed to play a catalytic role to mobilise funds for the SDGs.
The post-2015 agenda provides a new global framework for countries to better focus, coordinate and integrate their efforts as they work towards sustainable development, while eradicating poverty in all its forms.
The new 17 SDGs are universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN Member States are expected to use to frame their national development plans and policies over the next 15 years. The SDGs follow, and expand on, the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, which were agreed by governments in 2000, and which are due to expire at the end of this year.
“It is a much more ambitious agenda in that it calls for nothing short of eradicating poverty forever. It calls for a more integrated approach in interventions,” said Pedro Conceição, director, Strategic Policy Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP.
Conceição underscored the need for governments to put in place measures to ensure that more people are lifted out of poverty permanently.
He also pointed out that risks associated with conflict, political instability, falling commodity prices and natural disasters may reverse the gains in poverty eradication if these risks are not mitigated.
“People are thrown back into poverty because of shocks … if we are serious about implementing the agenda, we have to address this,” Conceição said, emphasising the need to integrate the development agenda to manage the risks better.
He also emphasised the importance of country ownership of the development agenda to facilitate its implementation. This is in addition to raising awareness about the new development agenda.
“This is not a UN agenda, this is agenda that governments signed – it is the agenda of the people, our role is to support it,” Conceição said, pointing out that the UN is ready to assist countries with technical expertise to implement the development agenda.
Also, Dorothy Gordon, an official from the Ghana–India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in Information, Communication and Technology, ICT, in Accra, Ghana, emphasised the need for African governments to increase investments in ICT to facilitate implementation of the SDGs.
Gordon argued that ICTs are cross-cutting enablers for development and critical to the achievement of SDGs. However, challenges such as limited skills and digital literacy have to be addressed to facilitate use of ICTs.
Africa, Gordon argued, has to invest in developing local ICT content as it currently spends a lot of resources on ICT imports.
“Every single unit of currency spent on technology from outside, it is money we are taking away from health and education – we need to think about it,” Gordon said.
While none of the SDGs specifically address ICTs, several targets make references to ICTs and technology.
In his remarks, Abdalla Hamdok, deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ECA, called on the continent to refocus its economic development strategies on industrialisation, particularly on the means for formulating and implementing effective industrial policy.
He underscored the role of the state as vital to addressing market failures and spurring industrialisation – and the need to institutionalise industrial policy in national and regional development strategies at the highest levels of government.
— Nov 16, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT