Exclusive Interviews | Nov 06,2021
Jan 21 , 2023
By Landry Signé ( Landry Signé, Founder and Chairman of the Global Network for Africa’s Prosperity. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the first female president of the Republic of Mauritius, is a distinguished adviser at the Global Network for Africa’s Prosperity. This article first appeard on Project Syndicate. )
The past year has been challenging for Africa. After a hopeful 2021, during which the continent-wide GDP increased by nearly seven percent and every region experienced real growth, the economy slowed in 2022 amid rising inflation, monetary tightening and geopolitical tensions.
It was also a year where African countries were finally able to make their voices heard on the global stage. At the start of another critical year, with the continent’s GDP projected to increase at a relatively modest pace of 4.1pc, governments can take several steps to boost economic activity and ensure a sustainable future.
For starters, policymakers must foster trade and investment through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Under a fully implemented trade unit, Africa’s combined consumer and business spending is expected to reach 6.7 trillion dollars by 2030 and 16.12 trillion dollars by 2050, transforming value chains and potentially reducing poverty.
Eight countries- Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia, began trading under AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative last year. To build on this momentum in 2023, policymakers must accelerate the implementation of the agreement’s subsequent phases, improve intra-African coordination, and call attention to early successes. Moreover, eliminating non-tariff barriers by introducing reporting and monitoring mechanisms would reduce business costs and encourage countries to increase imports.
Policymakers should also rely more on Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies like artificial intelligence and cloud computing to create new value chains and strengthen economic resilience. To realise the transformative potential of these tools, political leaders must honour the infrastructure commitments they made at the African Union’s 2022 summit on industrialisation and economic diversification.
They should also consider investing in strategically important industries, such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agro-processing, the automotive sector, and logistics. Sub-Saharan governments must also invest in education, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and digital skills, and seek partnerships with private-sector actors to expand access to information and communication services and mobile phones.
At the same time, as Africa’s economic future hinges on its ability to redefine its global status, governments must build on recent diplomatic breakthroughs. In the past few years, African governments have assumed a more prominent international role, presenting a united front in multilateral climate negotiations. US President Joe Biden has called for the AU to become a permanent member of the G-20, which would help solidify the AU’s position as the world’s top agriculture negotiating group. Agreeing on a shared agenda would enable them to secure funding for sustainability-related projects and hold the US, China and the European Union to their promises.
Given the impact of the pandemic, rising inflation, and climate change on income and wealth disparities across Africa, concerted action is becoming critical. Without it, the UN estimates that at least 492 million Africans will be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030, and at least 350 million will remain extremely poor by 2050. Moreover, despite recent progress toward gender equality in educational opportunities and political representation, African women are more likely to live below the international poverty line, experience severe food insecurity, and leave the labour force to perform care work.
To achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, they must focus on providing quality education, health care, and job-creation programmes that leave no one behind, particularly women and young people. African development agencies such as the AU’s Development Agency must be given the resources and authority they need to fulfil their mission.
Such capacity building will, however, require the governments to address institutional decay. As Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World report shows, 2022 was the 16th consecutive year of global democratic decline, and Africa is no exception. Political instability, corruption, and lack of accountability can undermine even perfect policies if allowed to persist. By working with partners and using evidence-based methodologies to monitor projects, assist in implementation, and guide decision-making, African countries could bridge the gap between policy goals and outcomes.
Lastly, ensuring a fair and sustainable green transition remains the most pressing issue facing the most climate-vulnerable continent. While African countries would need 2.8 trillion dollars by 2030 to meet the emissions targets set by the 2015 Paris agreement, the continent's annual climate finance inflows currently amount to only 30 billion dollars. But governments can and must build on the momentum generated by the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, which resulted in a groundbreaking decision to create a “loss and damage” fund to help developing countries mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Policymakers could mobilise such resources to invest in adaptation efforts and renewable energy.
African leaders must use this moment to accelerate the continent’s shift to a carbon-neutral economy. In what is sure to be a pivotal year for climate-change action, Africa can and must make significant progress toward an equitable, sustainable and resilient future.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 21,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1186]
Exclusive Interviews | Nov 06,2021
Commentaries | Dec 11,2020
Viewpoints | Jun 26,2021
Commentaries | Aug 24,2019
Commentaries | Feb 12,2022
Commentaries | Oct 16,2021
Viewpoints | Jun 22,2019
Agenda | Dec 07,2019
Commentaries | Apr 04,2020
Commentaries | Jan 07,2023
Photo Gallery | 64475 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 56330 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 51090 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 50698 Views | Sep 01,2021
Commentaries | Feb 04,2023
Life Matters | Feb 04,2023
My Opinion | Feb 04,2023
Sunday with Eden | Feb 04,2023
Agenda | Feb 04,2023
Editorial | Feb 04,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Feb 4 , 2023
Rene Lefort is a French journalist with a keen interest in Ethiopia, spanning over ha...
Jan 28 , 2023
It is not common to see an appointment for a senior federal government office stir de...
Jan 21 , 2023
Eyob Tekalign, state minister for Finance, took to social media platforms last week t...
Jan 14 , 2023
The longing for normalcy and a semblance of individual and collective security in Eth...
Folks awed by the devastating national exam results have ignored the massive crisis that engulf the academic sector for nearly half a centur...
Inspired by the stories of business people who started small, I have been on the quest to decode the custom-made recipe of wealth for th...
Feb 4 , 2023
Officials are toiling to radically overhaul the education system after experiencing a...
Feb 4 , 2023 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
The auto market foresees changes as a draft proclamation of excise tax on imported ve...
A ship carrying half a million quintals of urea arrived at the Djibouti ports last w...
Feb 4 , 2023 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
For thousands of Hibret Bank's shareholders who congregated at the Inter-luxury Hotel...
Or see contact page