Morocco hosts Africa growth forum

Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the ECA
Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the ECA

THE ninth African Development Forum is underway in Morocco where a number of African leaders are expected to tackle issues of illicit financial flows and domestic resource mobilisation.?

The forum takes place every two years and is organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa’s foremost policy think tank.?

According to a statement made available by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of UNECA, this is the first time the event is being held outside the headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.?

Since the late 1990s, many African economies including Zambia’s have grown significantly.?Between 1995 and 2012, the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doubled in real terms, from US$656 billion to $1,369 billion, while GDP per capita increased by 40 per cent, from $917 to $1,265.?Despite impressive figures, a number of challenges among them Africa’s dependence on foreign support, continue impeding the continent’s transformation.

According to UNECA reports, Africa requires about $200 billion annually to finance sustainable development, promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, and enhance economic resilience and competitiveness.?

Speaking about how African countries can raise funds, UNECA Executive Secretary, Carlos Lopes said:?‘‘The continent must embark on reforms to capture currently unexplored or poorly managed resources.?

‘‘This includes curtailing illicit financial flows and rather transforming those funds into a powerful tool for enhancing domestic resource mobilisation, as a way of furthering the continent’s development.’’?

According to him the good news was that the potential for Africa to raise substantially more domestic financial resources – and to finance its development from these resources – was huge.?Domestic tax revenues mobilised in Africa today are in excess of $520 billion according to 2011 data.?

This is compared to the $50 billion received in aid.?What’s more, African central and reserve banks hold more than $400 billion in international reserves and Africa’s pension fund assets are growing at a staggering pace.?

The World Bank estimates that Africa’s diaspora remittances soared to $40 billion in 2012 and they have the potential to grow to $200 billion over the next decade.?