Africa must augment development agenda

Tuesday, July 18th, 2023 00:15 | By
Ruto: We can build a prosperous Africa with our resources
President William Ruto addressing the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union at the UN Complex in Gigiri, Nairobi County on Sunday, July 16, 2023. PHOTO/PCS

Kenya’s President William Ruto has called for a new global financial architecture and a change in Africa’s relationship with the Global North.

 During the New Global Financial Pact Summit in France, he called for a financial transaction tax at a global level that will allow countries like Kenya contribute their equitable share.

 He was particularly emphatic on the need for an organisation of equals, where all nations have a say proportional to their contributions. 

President Ruto highlighted Kenya’s willingness to pay based on its economy’s size and expressed a desire for an arrangement which does not render the Bretton Woods institutions with unfettered control of wealth.  President Ruto’s on Sunday in Nairobi further reiterated the importance of Africa’s strive for self-reliance and reduction of dependence on overseas partners. He pointed out the irony that over 60 per cent of the continent’s budget was being financed by foreign partners, which contradicts the region’s aspirations.

 Implementing the Africa Free Trade Area Agreement, which aims to create a single market among 54 African countries with significant economic potential, is an indication of progress towards integration and economic growth. The agreement is expected to lift millions of people out of extreme poverty and boost incomes by seven per cent by 2035. 

In light of various challenges Africa faces, internal resource mobilisation should be a priority, and the African Union must take swift action and pursue urgent interventions to reinforce the continent’s development agenda. By aligning with Agenda 2063, Africa’s blueprint for peace, security, regional integration, investment, trade and development, the continent can demonstrate its readiness to lead.

 However, despite commitments such as the Maputo Declaration which called for a 10 per cent spending on agriculture, progress in increasing public spending on agriculture to eradicate hunger and poverty has been limited. The continent is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis that could push millions into poverty, lead to job losses and increase undernourishment in food-importing countries.

 The continent must be severe, and make crucial solutions like the Kigali Decision, which calls for a 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports to finance the African Union, happen.

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