New York, September 26, 2019 - Ken Ofori Atta, Minister for Finance has called for an overhaul of the global financing architectural framework, if Africa is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
These include global financial arrangements which make producer countries ‘price takers’; conditions that promote illicit financial flows; conditionalities associated with capital acquisition and its high cost.
“We are working within a certain framework of global architecture that some don’t believe should be questioned. For example, between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire we produce 65% of the worlds’ cocoa, we however, remain ‘price takers’ because of a certain arrangement in the global space, so we are stuck in a USD 6 billion market while there is a USD140 billion cocoa industry, it is time for a change.”
Mr Ofori said this to participants of the United Nations Financing for Development forum on Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) held on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly meetings.
Under the INFF initiative, every country should have a plan to finance the SDGs, the forum provided a platform for pioneer countries such as Ghana to review progress within the framework of the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action.
On the challenge of high cost of capital for Africa, the Minister explaining further, said whereas African countries keep their net foreign exchange in the Western countries and earn little on it, these African countries when in need of capital have to “literally borrow our own money” from these same western countries at 9 to 10%.
Furthermore, in trying to acquire capital, international rating agencies rate developing countries with a certain “lens” which does not reflect the risk of these countries and therefore leading to higher insurance cost.
Mr Ofori Atta told participants that Africa could also achieve the SDGs if the international community come together to stem the USD50 – 70 billion lost annually through illicit financial flows from Africa.
He said it was time for all countries to begin a conversation on ethics and values and corruption in an open and transparent manner, time to challenge the status quo to see whether in its current state, Africa could achieve the SDG.
Mr Ofori Atta, posited that digitisation of Africa could go a long way to improve the situation in Africa and called on the IMF, World Bank and other international institutions to come out with initiatives to digitise Africa.
“I think digitalisation should be something IMF and the World Bank should find the means of implementing in each country. Not only does it provide us with appropriate data but also makes us more efficient in transmitting welfare issues, and then of course for taxation”.
He said another issue that the international community has to consider urgently is education and skills training needs for the teaming youth in Africa. He cautioned that if the world failed to find a solution, this will translate into bigger problems for world as a whole.
The INFFs facilitate nationally owned and government led implementation of the SDGs by helping governments map the financial landscape, develop a financing strategy and coordinate efforts to mobilise and align financing with national sustainable development priorities.
The conference was organised under the auspices of the UNDP, United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UDESA), the IMF, World Bank, and the EU. It was attended by officials of the above organisations and Ministers for Finance, and officials working on SDGs in the various countries. END
Public Relations Unit
Ministry of Finance