Giving meaning to collective action

On the eve of the 33rd Summit of the African Union, which will be held on February 9 and 10 in the presence of all the States of the continent, it is essential to recall the ties that unite us. Reinvesting in our territories, strengthening our economic regions, abolishing customs borders, and freeing ourselves from external constraints are all elements that will enable us to regain the meaning of our actions and stimulate our ability to unite around common values.

A paradigm shift is needed

The new decade that is beginning holds out the hope of a paradigm shift if we respect what we preach. Our continent, whose youth and dynamism are its real wealth, must meet the high expectations of social justice and equity in the distribution of wealth of a population that is increasingly integrated around a globalized conception of economic and political life. We have no choice but to rethink our relationship to ourselves and to the rest of the world. To this end, from now on we have sought to include and involve our youth in the design and implementation of Agenda 2063, our continental vision of socio-economic transformation.

Play as a team

Since its recent establishment, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) promotes regional economic integration, cross-border projects and aims to strengthen its cooperation with the regional economic communities. The launching of major PIDA priority projects – the North-South or Abidjan-Dakar corridors, the Abidjan-Lagos coastal corridor, the Dakar-Bamako railway lines, the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Transmission Line (ZTK) and so many other achievements – is the fulfilment of our wish to work together. Henceforth, the progress of regional integration is moving in the direction of an interconnected continent, obviously transcending borders.

“It is also an opportunity for African political and economic actors to aim for democratic consensus and adopt a common position in international negotiations.”

Facing climate change

Included in Agenda 2063, the protection of biodiversity, the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, water security and renewable energies are critical strategic choices. Indeed, there can be no sustainable growth without inclusion, and this will be even more true in the years to come. The urgency of meeting the challenges posed by climate change calls for a two-pronged approach: mitigating the causes and adapting to the consequences. Hence the need to focus on development with the highest possible ecological value. This implies planning differently and implementing concrete adaptation measures, building resilience, reviewing our food systems, adopting green economies that are resilient to climate change, improving climate and weather monitoring. It is also an opportunity for African political and economic actors to aim for democratic consensus and adopt a common position in international negotiations.

Breaking down borders for the free movement of people

Unless there is a denial of the obvious, population displacements respond to a need for survival and security. Hindering this movement means running the risk of seeing poor populations trapped in a vicious circle of impoverishment and the most dynamic areas deprived of labour power. Rethinking our borders to allow free movement. We must work to make this possible and in the best possible conditions.

In this context, important steps have been taken on two of the key objectives of Agenda 2063: the creation of a continental free trade area, FTAA, and the creation of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). Indeed, 80% of air traffic in Africa is still handled by foreign companies. A major objective of Agenda 2063, SAATM was launched on 28 January 2018 by the AU Commission. The liberalisation of market access between African States, the free exercise of traffic rights and the liberalisation of frequencies should contribute to the continent’s socio-economic integration and growth. As for the FTAA, which started in March 2018, once in force, it will be the largest trade zone in the world, theoretically expected to increase intra-African trade by 52% by 2022, eliminating customs duties on 90% of goods. Let’s free up our spaces on earth or in the air. This is a challenge.

We are now at a crossroads. We have never been so collectively aware of our material and immaterial resources, of our strengths, of our place to create in this uncertain world. Meanwhile, these uncertainties in the face of major demographic, climatic, political or economic changes are accelerating. At the dawn of this new decade, our responsibility as citizens is to ensure that the hopes of our young people and the dreams of the founding leaders are not in vain.

My selected books of the year 2019

When the year comes to an end, it is important to remember the highlights of the past twelve months. As a passionate reader, I chose the five books that caught my attention in 2019.

1.  “Does capitalism have a future?”, Immanuel Wallerstein, Randall Collins, Craig Calhoun, Michael Mann, Georgi Derluguian 
In this important collective work, five major intellectuals draw up a panorama of the state of the world and debate their analysis and the answers to be given to think about our time. It is a very relevant analysis of the often-neglected major trends that illustrate the limits of the expansion of the capitalist “world system”. 

2. “Beating the Odds: Jump-Starting Developing Countries”, Celestin Monga and Justin Yifu Lin
After the failures of the Washington consensus policies, an illustration of how rapid economic growth processes can happen in countries where there is a lack of essential preconditions like good infrastructure and institutions.

3. “The End of power”
 Moises Naim
How the decay of power is changing the world and bringing « our heightened vulnerability to bad ideas and bad leaders ». In this fascinating book, the author makes the more provocative claim that power is, in fact, declining. He focuses on the flagging ability of large organizations—government ministries, corporations, militaries, churches, educational and philanthropic foundations—to get their way.       

4. 
« L’homme inutile (du bon usage de l’économie) », Pierre-Noel Giraud 
Or how to make good use of the economy by dismantling the mechanisms of uselessness, which is “the worst form of inequality” because there are more and more unemployed men reduced to uselessness to themselves and to others”. By questioning the economy, globalization and public policies, the professor of economics proposes a reflection on the growing income gap within a country and the solutions to solve the problem of uselessness that excludes the unemployed, the precarious or poorly housed. The author suggests measuring the effectiveness of public policies in the fight against uselessness.

5. Africapolis
Produced by the OECD Sahel and West Africa Club, Africapolis.org is the only comprehensive and standardised geospatial database on cities and urbanisation dynamics in Africa. It is designed to enable comparative and long-term analyses of urban dynamics – covering 7 500 agglomerations in 50 countries. The Africapolis data are based on an extensive repertoire of housing and population censuses, electoral registers and other official population sources, some of which date back to the early twentieth century. The regularity, level of detail and reliability of these sources vary from country to country and from period to period.

Why is the proper structuring of major infrastructure projects in Africa a priority?

Financing projects upstream, building partnerships between public and private operators,
AUDA-NEPAD accelerates its efforts to advance the continent’s development. 

Since the Dakar Financing Summit in June 2014 and President Macky Sall’s push to advance high-impact projects across the continent, including those of integrated corridors with a regional dimension, ambitious national and transnational projects have been presented each year. According to the last figures released by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) in 2018, the level of Africa’s infrastructure commitments have exceeded US$ 100 billion, for the first time, a 24% increase compared to 2017. African governments were the main source of infrastructure financing, with US$ 37.5 billion dollars (37% of total commitments), followed by China, which committed 25.7 billion dollars (25% of total commitments). For its part, the private sector only contributed by US$ 11.8 billion (12% of total commitments). Given the high potential for significantly heifer private sector investment, our efforts must be concentrated in structuring infrastructure to meet investment requirements.

The time required to properly develop and structure infrastructure projects is long, in the best case usually between taking between three to seven years before reaching financial close. Moreover, according to an Okan / CEO Forum report, 83% of African Public-Private Partnerships are abandoned, not because of lack of funding, but because they are poorly designed or not commercially viable. Project development costs for large-scale PPP infrastructure projects can account for 5% to 10% of the total project investment.

To avoid this loss of time and money, AUDA-NEPAD and its partners have developed a series of tools to support the preparation and financing upstream of Africa’s regional and national infrastructure projects to enable more effective definition and structuring aligned with investor requirements. Related funding mechanisms are required to cover the costs of project development including project management, transactions advisory, technical studies (pre-feasibility, engineering, feasibility, socioeconomic development, environmental), business plans, financial models, among others.

The high level of technical challenges, from the complexity of the different environments to the the transnational nature of certain infrastructure projects – such as the 330 KV transmission project of Niort Core crossing four countries (Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso) – require a very high level of expertise and the mobilization of many international operators, therefore resulting in additional costs.

Thanks to specific technical assistance mechanisms, such as the SDM (Service Delivery Mechanism), the preparatory studies for the construction of the 1,000 km section between Abidjan and Lagos have mobilized joint financing of US $ 22.7 million from the AfDB and the European Union. A team of experts worked for 18 months during the preparatory phase in Lagos to enable the establishment of the Abidjan-Lagos corridor. This project has led, within ECOWAS, to the signing of a multilateral treaty between the Heads of State and Government of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, creating a supranational authority, the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Management Authority (ALCoMA), a first in Africa. ALCoMA will facilitate the management and coordination of the entire project cycle, from preparation to construction, including operation and maintenance.

Following the same inclusive and integrative logical thinking, the LAPSSET megaproject in East Africa, estimated to cost in total US$ 25 billion, is an example of a significant government initiative aimed at establishing transnational partnerships between public and private institutions. Projects in development include Lamu Port in Kenya, a normal gauge railway line linking Juba to southern Sudan and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, the development of a broad road network, two pipelines in southern Sudan and Ethiopia, an oil refinery in Bargoni, Kenya, three airports, among other projects. This ambitious series of projects involve a cross-section of national and international investors, both debt and equity.

In order to facilitate and deepen the  public-private dialogues required to remove one of the main obstacles to infrastructure development on the continent — the lack of consideration of private sector constraints in the implementation of major projects — the Continental Business Network (CBN) was launched on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 2015. Private sector leaders are systemically invited to share their advice and capacity in order to advance the critical infrastructure projects being advised by AUDA-NEPAD.

It is crucial that we work actively to fill our infrastructure gaps – by addressing the broader issue of integrated approaches to infrastructure development while building partnerships with key stakeholders: the private sector, institutional investors, African governments and willing development partners.

We need to engage together across the public and private sectors in collaborative frameworks to further the development of initiatives such as the 5% Agenda to mobilize funding from African pension funds and the Africa Infrastructure Guarantee Facility to scale guarantees, creating the enabling environments required to attract more private capital to Africa’s infrastructure.

My message at the conference “Rethinking Development in Africa” at Columbia University | SIPA

On 27 September 2019, I had the opportunity to share my opinion and vision on the key issues that will drive the debate on Africa’s development during a conference organized by Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs under the theme: “Rethinking Development in Africa“.

I address covered the following areas: Africa’s transitions versus policies; governance versus policies; global uncertainties versus Africa’s uncertainties, and; reflections on rethinking development.

It is not prudent to continue to view ‘development’ in traditional paradigms, considering that ‘development’ itself requires new thinking in order for real transformation to take place, given the present conditions.

In fact, the critical transitions that are taking place on the continent include demographic, technological, natural systems, climate change, governance systems as well as human development transitions. None of these transitions can be dealt with independently, and moreover, the transitions make it difficult for youths in the development space, who already predominantly have a negative perception on the delivery of policymakers. Therefore, policymakers need to understand these transitions fully and prepare adequately.

Power relations have changed fundamentally, meaning governance systems are inadequate, which cannot be changed in a top down manner. Therefore, the inadequacy of governance systems makes power irrelevant, as it has been shown recently in several countries on the continent.  There is therefore a shift in power from centralised power to more local governance systems and local communities.

Furthermore, governance could strengthen its credibility with renewed and innovative forms of governance as is the case of a country such as Botswana, which has inclusivity as a strong trait in its governance system. Inclusivity is therefore an absolute and essential component in rethinking development unlike was the case years ago.

With regards global uncertainties and Africa’s uncertainties, it was observed that aid, which was a strong component in Africa’s development agendas, is now disappearing, with the role of the multilateral system being questioned. In addition, an agenda on global sustainable development that must be applied by all countries shows that Africa is lagging behind.

However, Africa is now looking at its own regional and internal markets through the African Continental Free Trade Area, meaning that even at the current time of global uncertainty, a great opportunity for Africa exists. The fragmentation of African countries necessitates that the continent implements regional solutions for national challenges, and the strengthening of regional and internal markets to restore credibility of national governments.

Some of Africa’s uncertainties include the fact that in the next eight years or so, most of the incumbent African presidents will no longer be here, paving the way for new leaders who will emerge out of democratic processes. Therefore, the youth will have a stronger role to play in the continent’s new political administrations. However, the uncertainty is whether the new leaders will emerge through sound democratic foundations or through populist solutions, or even whether they will emerge out of an increased level of conflicting scenarios.

In conclusion, I reflected on rethinking development, stating that the best way to include youths in Africa’s development framework, Agenda 2063, is to let them be a part of its design and implementation.

A change of paradigm is there needed in the co-production of public policies. Africa will need to reinvent its governance systems with the empowering of local communities and implementation of regional solutions. In addition, the way people identify with development policy, is the extent to which they feel that their dignity is being upheld. Moreover, rethinking development also means rethinking justice systems.

Belinda Archibong, Assistant Professor of Economics at Columbia University, a discussant at the address, commented that Africa does not really need to develop on aid, but more on trade. She also noted that another critical area is in the closure of the youth participation gap in governance systems.

Akbar Noman, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, also a discussant said, “The importance of the transitions highlighted by Dr Mayaki, especially the one on demographics, projecting what will be needed in the labour force and its nexus with climate change, is important in answering the question on the generation of employment.”

Here you will find the full video of the « Rethinking Development in Africa » conference at Columbia University | SIPA on Friday, September 27 in New York 

Global warming is at the core of the African Union Development Agency’s priorities

AUDA-NEPAD integrates the fight against global warming into a global perspective of the continent’s economic development.

The latest United Nations Climate Summit highlighted the differences in approach between polluting countries, major industrial powers and countries suffering the consequences, particularly those in Africa. AUDA-NEPAD, in its DNA, has this environmental dimension.

Since its creation, we have constantly integrated into each of our programs, the sustainability and protection of our biodiversity. Since October 2001, with the launch of the Environment Initiative, mechanisms have been put in place to combat global warming, such as combating land degradation, wetland conservation, the sustainable conservation and use of marine and coastal resources, and the cross-border conservation and management of natural resources.

AUDA-NEPAD is committed to the implementation of Agenda 2063, which sets out a common continental strategic framework to promote inclusive growth and support sustainable development. We will not wait 50 years to act. The first deadline is therefore 2023.

“This illustration of the objectives to be achieved by 2023 shows the African Union’s commitment to building environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient economies and communities, as called for in Goal 7 of Agenda 2063.”

The protection of biodiversity, the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, water security and renewable energies: for each of these challenges, strong proposals have been adopted, enabling States to draw up a clear and quantified roadmap. In concrete terms, by 2023, the proportion of land used in an eco-sustainable manner must reach at least 30% of the total. Transboundary natural resources will now have to be integrated as natural capital in the negotiations. Water security requires better management of rainwater and irrigation, including the promotion of the use of recycled wastewater for agricultural or industrial purposes. In addition, we will support all actions to reduce the share of fossil fuels in total energy production to minus 20% and to increase the share of renewable energies in total energy production by at least 10%.

This illustration of the objectives to be achieved by 2023 shows the African Union’s commitment to building environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient economies and communities, as called for in Goal 7 of Agenda 2063.

To support these initiatives, all public and private funding mechanisms will be involved. At the national level, between 75% and 90% of the financing of Agenda 2063 will be done through the mobilisation of domestic resources. At the continental level, the African Development Bank has already announced a doubling of its financial commitments for climate action, bringing its contribution to $25 billion between 2020 and 2025.

Spending on climate change adaptation measures is not a sunk cost. According to the latest report of the United Nations World Commission on Adaptation, investing $1.8 billion in these measures could generate $7.1 billion in benefits between 2020 and 2030. The United Nations thus confirms that the antagonism between economic development and the fight against global warming is no longer economically justified.

In this regard, the African Union Development Agency continues its efforts by continuing to innovate in strategic growth-generating sectors while meeting its responsibilities in addressing the global challenges of mitigating the effects of global warming and adapting to these changes.

The bottom-up approach of the African private sector makes all the difference

African success stories are multiplying in the private sector, each more inspiring than the next. A striking fact explains some of the dazzling successes whether start-ups, telecommunications companies or banks: a bottom-up approach, which starts from the realities on the ground to design solutions adapted to needs, from the most local to the most global. And not the other way around, which consists of plating imported goods or services without adapting them to demand.

Indeed, an object such as the razor has the same use all over the world. But the way it is sold will change everything in Africa, where you have to consider the pace of transactions and maturities, which are not necessarily monthly as in Europe. The logic is rather that of “daily expenditure”, the famous “DE”* as it is called in Senegal. This DE ensures that purchasing power is adjusted on a day-to-day basis for products sold at retail. That’s why a bag of 10 razors is less likely to be purchased than each piece individually.

In other areas, market adjustment leads to perfectly innovative products on a global scale, as seen with M-Pesa, the e-wallet that has made the Kenyan mobile network operator globally known. In doing so, the solution invented in Kenya has been replicated in much of the continent. It is part of the daily lives of Cameroonians and Malagasy alike, not to mention the African diasporas who send money to their families back home. As indicated in the latest GSM Operators Association (GSMA) report on the digital economy in sub-Saharan Africa, the continent hosts nearly half of the world’s active mobile money accounts.

Microfinance and meso-finance allow telecommunications companies and banks to reinvent themselves, as seen in Senegal and Zimbabwe, with the respective examples of Wari and Econet Wireless. The main lesson of these successes is that the potential of the informal sector should not be underestimated, a word that has a pejorative connotation in itself, while it is synonymous with remarkable dynamism.

“The private sector is currently the main source of employment on the continent”

These initiatives contribute to an ad hoc regional integration, which is carried out on a daily basis in economic terms. An online trading company founded in Nigeria and later expanded to other countries made headlines this year due to its listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Upstream, many other African private groups are advancing telecommunications infrastructure. Tens of thousands of kilometres of fibre-optic cables are being laid across the continent to link countries together, with a vision that does not care about linguistic or cultural borders, but relies on a demand that can only be exponential.

Internet access, which stood at 23% in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017 according to World Bank figures, is expected to jump to 39% by 2025 according to the GSMA report. The expansion of this access not only makes Africa a new frontier for global growth. It is also one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs), and nourish high hopes for faster growth through digital technology.

The private sector is currently the main source of employment on the continent. The extent of these successes in this sector must be appreciated by policy-makers and the great lesson to be learned from the African private sector for policy-makers in Africa can be summed up in these few words: starting from the field to identify needs. There is not necessarily a need to call for help, but to consider actions in a sustainable way, with future generations in mind. There is only profit to be made from it, from every point of view.

*DE: daily expenditure

Q&A: The African Union’s first ever Development Agency

Question: Please take us through the journey that the led to the creation of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.

Dr Ibrahim Mayaki: The African Union Assembly of July 2018 approved the establishment of AUDA-NEPAD as the technical executive agency and development anchor of the continent with its distinct legal identity and defined by its own statute, to deliver on the development priorities articulated by the African Union. Its establishment is part of the overall institutional reforms of the African Union. 

At the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in Nouakchott, Mauritania, a decision was officially adopted to transform the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency into the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

The vision of AUDA-NEPAD is to ‘Harness knowledge to deliver the Africa we want.’ The mission of the organisation is to provide a platform for African countries in order to ensure the effective and integrated planning, coordination and implementation of programmes and projects aimed economic integration and development, and embracing of AUDA-NEPAD’s principles and values.

Read the full article here.

Positive discrimination in favour of major African companies is needed

What concrete changes will result from the transformation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development into an AUDA?

The agency has autonomy of execution and freedom to mobilise resources, for example, with advisory services to states and regional organisations. Thus, the African Union Commission is delegated certain tasks of implementing development policy and will be able to focus on political orientation, governance, peace, security [and so on].

Read the full interview on Africa report website.

How Africa should prepare for the new industrial era?

Is the industrialisation that Africa so strongly advocates just taking time to happen or indefinitely postponed? Is the continent today likely to enter a new industrial era, without any prior expansion of manufacturing? These questions should be asked. By focusing on a model that dates back to the rise of manufacturing in Europe with electricity at the end of the 19th century, we would almost forget to see what is happening before our eyes. Africa, which has moved directly to mobile phones without developing the fixed-line network, has made a unique technological leap. His invention of the electronic wallet has changed the daily lives of millions of mobile phone users who are not necessarily banked. 

The “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, as defined by Klaus Shwab, a German economist and founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF), is driven by artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality, blockchain and “cobotics”, the interaction between a man and a robot system. It follows the three previous revolutions, induced by the advent of the steam engine in 1760, then electricity and mass production at the beginning of the 20th century, before the advent of computers in the 1960s.

Today, there are countless remarkable African inventions such as Askwar Hilonga’s, the Tanzanian who solved the problem of access to drinking water by setting up the NanoFilter. Indeed, this is a cheap water filter based on nanotechnologies, or the Zimbabwean service that “uberises” household waste collection. In other words, a truck platform travels to 32 cities across the country at the request of users who want to dispose of their waste for a small fee. From Dakar to Djibouti, logistics hubs are being developed throughout the continent.

Some Experts such as Carlos Lopes think it is mistaken to complain about the lack of factories in Africa. Because industrialisation also takes place in the services sector, the one that dominates most of the continent’s fast-growing economies. This is not bad news in itself: tourism, for example, is part of the industry, as are the creative industries, which also create jobs. The proof? Nollywood, this huge Nigerian film factory, is the second largest employer in the country after agriculture with 1 million people.

“Industrialisation is not limited to manufacturing. It refers to a whole ecosystem of modern transactions, capable of serving sophisticated economic fabrics and value chains”

Manufacturers no longer provide jobs in Europe, nor in Africa, as robotics develops. It is therefore necessary to consider this secondary sector, which is often considered as a “necessary step”, a required condition for development. Do we know what impact artificial intelligence will have tomorrow, as well as new technologies that are still beyond our imagination today? The “leapfrog” that has occurred in telecommunications could be replicated in many areas, including those on which current delays act as barriers – such as access to electricity and refrigeration.

Industrialisation is not limited to manufacturing. It refers to a whole ecosystem of modern transactions, capable of serving sophisticated economic fabrics and value chains. From this perspective, several countries are already industrialised in Africa, apart from leading countries such as Egypt and South Africa. Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Mauritius, Rwanda, Togo… These are all countries that have undergone structural transformation of their economies, with massive investments in a more modern and partly industrialised productive fabric. As for countries with large rural populations, which will remain so for the next 30 years, any industrialisation will necessarily involve the diversification of the rural economy.

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The growth of foreign direct investment in Africa also depends on our progress with regional integration

The latest report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on world investment confirms the renewed attractiveness of Africa in 2018. While foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by 13% worldwide last year, foreign direct investment to the African continent jumped by 11%. In a gloomy global economic context, troubled by the threat of an escalation of the US-China trade war, Africa is escaping the protectionist storm by continuing to attract a growing share of investments. 

It would be easy to miss the forest for the trees. It should be remembered, however, that Africa continues to capture a tiny share of FDI in the world, only 3.5%, or $45.9 billion. In comparison, India alone received nearly $42.3 billion in FDI in 2018. In 2018, FDI in Africa remained below the level of 2014-2015, following the fall in commodity prices. Natural resources also continue to be the main vector of investment on our continent – allowing the Republic of Congo, for instance, to move up to third place in the African ranking thanks to investments in oil exploration and production – with a few exceptions in some more diversified economies. 

Several factors may contribute to an increase in FDI in 2019: the hypothesis of stable commodity prices; increased US investments in the African continent to compete with China (including the creation of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USDFC) which should be able to mobilize 60 billion mainly for the African continent); and the ratification of the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area, that is boosting the continent’s attractiveness as a large economic area in the process of creating a big continental market.

While most regional groups are for the most part weakened by internal tensions – even the European Union can no longer act as a model with Brexit and the rise of populism – only Africa is strengthening its integration within the framework of a common economic and political project. On May 30, the Continental Free Trade Area officially came into force, laying the groundwork for a single market of 1.2 billion people with an estimated GDP of $2.5 trillion. At the same time, the business climate on the continent continues to improve, facilitating investment and supporting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. In the Doing Business 2019 ranking, Africa shines by the number of reforms carried out, even in countries that are subjects to conflicts.

Nevertheless, while it is true that African States must continue to improve their attractiveness to foreign investors, one of the priorities must remain the mobilisation of our domestic resources. It is not FDI that will bring structural transformation of our economies. The average tax-to-GDP ratio on the African continent remains low compared to the average ratio of OECD countries and other regions of the world. This loss of income is more than harmful to development policies, while the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that our continent could earn $99 billion a year by adopting better tax policies. 

Our challenge to emerge in a globalized world is not without obstacles: our continent is leading an unprecedented range of reforms, but it is only by combining regional integration, improving the business climate and diversifying our economies that we will make Africa a global economic power.

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