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ECA strengthening financial systems for Development in Africa

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is taking significant steps to strengthen public finance systems in Africa to ensure sustainable development.

The ECA said in a statement that it organised a workshop on Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) for experts and stakeholders from across Africa in Addis Ababa to ensure this.

The two-day workshop aims to strategise on mobilising and utilising financial resources to achieve Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The INFFs are designed to strengthen public and private financing for sustainable development.

They align financing policies with national development plans, fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors. Africa is at the forefront of this initiative, with over 40 governments embracing the approach.

The Director of Macroeconomics and Governance Division at the ECA, Zuzana Schwidsowski, called for immediate action on the initiative.

“We are entering an era of poly-crises, characterised by multiple shocks, including pandemics, climate change, and economic and financial stresses.

“These challenges jeopardise our progress in sustainable development. The need to raise financial resources to accelerate SDG implementation is more urgent now, given that we are less than seven years from attaining Agenda 2030,” she said.

Schwidsowski said the severe financing gap is estimated to range from 200 billion dollars to 1.3 trillion dollars annually, as detailed in the ECA’s Economic Report on Africa 2020.

She said the importance of domestic resource mobilisation and the role of INFFs in integrating national plans with available resources could not be overemphasised.

“The workshop aims to strengthen the capacities of officials and stakeholders to develop effective financing strategies, promote knowledge-sharing, and generate regional dialogue on public finance trends and issues affecting INFF implementation.

“Serving as a crucial platform for sharing experiences and planning future actions, the insights gained will be essential for the Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in Spain in 2025.

“This workshop will be a rewarding experience for each participant, creating a space for knowledge sharing and learning.

“We are keen to deepen our partnerships to tap into the full potential of domestic resource mobilisation to achieve Agenda 2030 and the AU’s Agenda 2063,” Schwidsowski said.

In a video message, Shari Spiegel, the Director of Financing for Sustainable Development Office at United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) underscored the critical role of domestic public finance.

Spiegel said: “Robust and resilient fiscal systems can contribute to alleviating poverty, reducing inequalities, and supporting economic growth.

“However, significant challenges remain, including unmet tax potential and the impacts of globalisation and digitalisation.

“The recent establishment of a UN Ad Hoc Committee to develop a draft framework for international tax cooperation is a historic step towards a fair and effective international tax system,’’ she said.

Also speaking, Maxwell Gomera, the Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa Sustainable Finance Hub provided a compelling perspective on the role of INFFs in transforming African economies.

Gomera said: “with limited resources for necessary growth in many African countries, INFFs ensure that all available resources are effectively mobilised, allocated, and used where they are most needed.

“INFFs help align public finance with national development priorities, enhance revenue collection, and improve spending efficiency.”

Meanwhile, Rumbidzai Manhando, Programme Coordinator for the African Union Financial Institutions, restated the AUC’s dedication to strengthening public and private financing for sustainable development.

She said: “INFFs offer a comprehensive approach to mobilising and utilising financial resources. By integrating public and private financing, we can develop cohesive strategies that align with our development goals.”

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