Africa should invest in people-centered strategies to accelerate economic recovery

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, Economic Commission for Africa, acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro has urged.

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This article is sponsored by UN ECA

Opening the ministerial segment of the 55th Session of ECA’s Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr. 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 Africa’s 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,” Mr. Pedro, told participants and stressed 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 is “Fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities”, which, according to Mr. Pedro, was timely, against the background of overlapping crises that have eroded achievements in Africa. He 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,” Mr. Pedro said, calling for the development of bankable projects that can yield maximum socioeconomic impacts.

Pointing out that the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was an opportunity  to bridge the inequality and vulnerability gap while fostering recovery and transformation in Africa, he 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.

For his part, 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,” Mr. 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 8 years left to achieve with Agenda 2030, it underscores the urgency to tackle poverty and inequality on the continent,” Mr. Musasizi said.

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