- Africa is at the center of global sustainability transitions such as decarbonization of production systems.
- The continent is also seeing electrification of transportation infrastructure and accelerated use of renewable energy.
- African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an opportunity to bridge the inequality and vulnerability gap while fostering recovery and transformation in Africa.
Africa – pummeled by a combination of crises – should swiftly invest in and implement people-centered strategies to mobilize financial resources and accelerate continental economic recovery, the Economic Commission for Africa now says.
Speaking during the opening of the ministerial segment of the 55th Session of ECA’s Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, in Ethiopia, Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro said Africa was at the center of global sustainability transitions, such as decarbonization of production systems, electrification of transportation infrastructure and accelerated use of renewable energy, which he said should underpin its recovery from the multiple crises.
“We need to adopt measures to mitigate economic and social vulnerability, reduce economic inequality, foster inclusive and resilient growth and accelerate poverty reduction in Africa,” Pedro said, stressing that Africa needs a people-centered development model that integrates poverty and inequality reduction into national and regional development strategies.
The theme of the Conference, “Fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities” comes against the background of overlapping crises that have eroded achievements in Africa.
Pedro said the continent needs to strengthen its macroeconomic fundamentals and access adequate financing to promote structural transformation.
“We must de-risk investment on the continent for both domestic and foreign investors,” Pedro said, calling for the development of bankable projects that can yield maximum socioeconomic impacts.
Development through trade in Africa
Delegates heard that the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an opportunity to bridge the inequality and vulnerability gap while fostering recovery and transformation in Africa. Pinto stressed the need to accelerate its implementation to support Africa’s economic recovery.
In addition, raising funding for long-term development needs multiple approaches, such as the growing domestic and regional financial markets and engaging in the carbon credit market which could unlock $82 billion for Africa , that could drive sustainable industrialization and economic diversification.
Ethiopia Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide, called on African countries to diversify their economies and minimize dependence on extractive sectors while implementing inclusive policy measures to address economic challenges.
“Our approaches to address economic challenges and poverty alleviation should balance between short-term response measures and lasting preventive solutions,” Shide said, urging countries to tap their national potential to transform the continent and reduce poverty.
Uganda Minister of State for Finance and Development and Chairperson of the Bureau of the Fifty-fifth Session, Henry Musasizi said African countries should implement policy reforms to tackle inequality and poverty which have been worsened by multiple crises affecting Africa.
“With less than eight years left to achieve with Agenda 2030, it underscores the urgency to tackle poverty and inequality on the continent,” Musasizi said.
Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA’s) mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member states, foster intraregional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.
ECA is made up of 54 Member States and plays a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape.