Dakar – Delegates from across Africa are participating in a three-day Expert Group Meeting, which kicked off on 11 May in Dakar, Senegal. Their discussions are anchored on the theme of ECA’s 54th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM 2022) – Financing Africa’s recovery: breaking new ground.
In her remarks to the experts whose meeting sets the tone for the ministerial sessions of CoM2022 on 16-17 May, Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe, said Africa had a unique opportunity to do things differently.
She urged the delegates to share their experiences and ideas to “break the cycle of solely donor contributed aid” in Africa. Ms Songwe stated that Africa’s growth must be “great, sustainable and inclusive”, because growth linked intrinsically to commodity prices “cannot be the growth of the future”.
“As we look at the gains we have made in the last decade and the gains that have been taken away by the Ukraine crisis, we can rethink what kind of growth Africa can have, she said, adding that “We must do this as a continent, not as individual countries.”
Financing a green recovery
Speaking from the floor, a member of the Egyptian delegation to CoM2022 said any recovery from the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis should be environmentally sustainable. He said that as Africa is hosting the environmental summit COP27 in November, the continent had a good opportunity to focus on how to achieve a “green” recovery and sustainable solutions.
Call for a fully operational AfCFTA
A delegate from Tanzanian suggested that the final recommendations of the conference should include a call for member states to unpick any issues standing in the way of a fully operational African free trade agreement, AfCFTA. He said a completed AfCFTA would boost trade and investment among member states, helping member countries “easily rebound” from the economic contraction caused by COVID-19.
Working collectively to make things better
Presenting stark data on where the twin crises of the pandemic and Ukraine have brought Africa, ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Hanan Morsy, said “we do not know the length and the breadth of the crisis”. She said Africa needed things to get better, and “we need to make sure they don’t get worse”. CoM2022 would provide an opportunity to thrash out the details on how this could be achieved, she said.