In Conversation

We asked Mathew Sandy, Director of the Public Debt Management Division in Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance, what he thought were Africa’s priorities. 

By

Food security

“Crisis forces us to adapt and become more resilient. The Ukraine crisis, which has affected Africa’s food security, has reminded us of the priority of being self-sufficient in food production.

By solving the food security problem, you also solve half of the monetary policy problem. Food inflation is about 40% of the CPI basket and above 60% for some countries. 

A way to achieve food sovereignty is by developing local products such as cowpea. It is also important to sensitise the population about nutrition. 

Building strong institutions

This is also one of the continent’s top priorities. This means the implementation of good governance policies to fight corruption. 

At times of crisis, normal budget processes can be bypassed, for example in areas such as procurement.

If, during crisis you can demonstrate effective management of resources, it will create confidence in governance.

Debt

The debt challenge needs to be addressed through fiscal consolidation domestically although the bigger problem needs to be solved at a global level.

Governments need to avoid the temptation at times of financial shocks, like the current one, to introduce fuel subsidies. That would only drive us toward debt distress. It is better to let prices go up but invest in social protection to help vulnerable people.”

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