ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

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African governments must act quickly to address development finance challenges, writes Amujae Leader Malado Kaba

As the 54th session of the Economic Commission for Africa’s Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development took place in Dakar, Amujae Leader Malado Kaba urged for new ways to address the continent’s development challenges.

Writing in an op-ed published in African Business, Ms. Kaba offered a road map to African policymakers on how best to help their governments meet their financial obligations during the recovery period from the COVID-19 pandemic while raising long-term funding for economic growth.

The pandemic has made it harder to secure the financing needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa, Ms. Kaba wrote. As the continent’s annual expenditures related to the SDGs are expected to rise by $154 billion annually, governments will need to exert additional effort to “fill the large gaps in infrastructure financing needed to meet global objectives.”

As former Economy and Finance Minister of the Republic of Guinea, Ms. Kaba drew on her experience to call on African policymakers to focus on four key areas. The first centers around the need for Africa to establish its own credit agencies that account for the continent’s sizeable informal sector:

“Providing the space for more African rating agencies is critical, as it helps to diversify policy recommendations in order to fully capture the complexities of our economies.”

The second focus area, Ms. Kaba wrote, is directing funds toward projects that bring large-scale benefits to populations across the continent, both in terms of goods and services, and in the development of quality infrastructure.

Lastly, African governments—and finance ministers in particular—must “ good practices and lessons learned” and implement “smart financing mechanisms” that could increase their bargaining power with credit agencies, Ms. Kaba argued.

She concluded by encouraging African leaders to help the continent grow in its role as a global financial player:

A further push is a must to place our continent at the center of the solutions to the global challenges facing this planet.

Read the full op-ed here.

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