………As over $90bn capital flight since 2020 pressures Africa’s economy
By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Presidents from five African countries are set to converge on Sal Island, Cape Verde, for the African Economic Conference, 2021, organisers said on Wednesday.
The presidents to be attending the high-level economic meeting include: President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; President José Maria Neves of the Republic of Cape Verde and President Felix-Antoine Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Others are President Paul Kagamé of the Republic of Rwanda and President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal.
The 2021 event which has as its theme: “Financing Africa’s post-COVID-19 development”, will also feature more than 100 other speakers from African governments, private sector, and leading academics.
Scheduled to hold from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, the annual event is organised by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The focus of the meeting for 2021 would be to develop new ways to finance Africa’s post-Covid-19 recovery and accelerate its development.
The UNDP, AfDB and UNECA said for three days, decisionmakers will also reimagine development financing, discuss the reform of Africa’s financial systems to meet development challenges and assess whether Africa is on the verge of a new debt crisis.
“The COVID-19 crisis has increased Africa’s development financing challenges by constraining public finances, which has led to increasing debt and dwindling foreign direct investment.
“Across the continent, the pandemic has left more than 30 million people in extreme poverty and living on less than 1.90 dollars a day.
“Still, access to international capital markets, a growing debt financing source for many African countries, has declined as investors’ perception of the risks increases.
“Capital flight from Africa, estimated at over 90 billion dollars since January 2020, and investor risk aversion have caused volatile market movements.
Similarly, organisers said, tightening global financing conditions make it more expensive for governments to secure the financing they need to recover from the pandemic and refinance maturing debt.
It is therefore on the heels of the above listed premises that organisers are gathering policy makers and industry experts to converge on Cape Verde to chart a possible way forward out of the economic quagmire.
The UNDP, AfDB and UNECA argue that it had become pertinent to have such as discuss as populations across Africa are on the brink of extreme poverty, with African countries announcing stimulus packages to stem the tide.
Conference organisers added that while the packages are lifesaving, there was also an urgent need for significant additional gross financing in 2022.
The organisers added that for the conference, papers had been submitted by prominent researchers who have proffered innovative ideas on mobilizing domestic resources in the age of the digital revolution; enhancing Africa’s position in the international financial system; and reviewing the role of public development banks.
“These papers are also expected to guide the discussion of sustainable finance solutions, regional integration and the role of the global financial safety net; policy options for managing capital flow volatility; financial regulatory reforms and the role of climate risks,” they said. (NAN)