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Strengthening financial systems for sustainable development in Africa


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Strengthening financial systems for sustainable development in Africa

In a significant step toward bolstering public finance systems, experts and stakeholders from across Africa gathered today for a workshop on Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs). The two-day event at the United Nations (UN) Conference Center in Addis Ababa aims to strategize on mobilizing and utilizing financial resources to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Africa.

First introduced in the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda, INFFs are designed to strengthen public and private financing for sustainable development. They align financing policies with national development plans, fostering collaboration between public and private sectors. Africa is at the forefront of this initiative, with over 40 governments embracing the approach.In her opening remarks, Zuzana Schwidsowski, Director of the Macroeconomics and Governance Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), called for immediate action.

“We are entering an era of poly-crises, characterized by multiple shocks, including pandemics, climate change, and economic and financial stresses,” she said. “These challenges jeopardize our progress in sustainable development. The need to raise financial resources to accelerate SDG implementation is more urgent now, given that we are less than seven years from attaining Agenda 2030.”

Ms Schwidsowski highlighted the severe financing gap, estimated to range from $200 billion to $1.3 trillion annually, as detailed in the ECA’s Economic Report on Africa 2020. She stressed the importance of domestic resource mobilization and the role of INFFs in integrating national plans with available resources.

In a video message, Shari Spiegel, Director of the Financing for Sustainable Development Office at UNDESA, underscored the critical role of domestic public finance, stating: “Robust and resilient fiscal systems can contribute to alleviating poverty, reducing inequalities, and supporting economic growth. However, significant challenges remain, including unmet tax potential and the impacts of globalization and digitalization.”

Ms Spiegel also highlighted the recent establishment of a UN Ad Hoc Committee to develop a draft framework for international tax cooperation, calling it a historic step toward a fair and effective international tax system.

Providing a compelling perspective on the role of INFFs in transforming African economies, Maxwell Gomera, Director of the UNDP Africa Sustainable Finance Hub, said “With limited resources for necessary growth in many African countries, INFFs ensure that all available resources are effectively mobilized, allocated, and used where they are most needed.”

 

He emphasized that “INFFs help align public finance with national development priorities, enhance revenue collection, and improve spending efficiency.” Rumbidzai T. Manhando, Programme Coordinator for the African Union Financial Institutions, reiterated the AUC’s dedication to strengthening both public and private financing for sustainable development. She noted, “INFFs offer a comprehensive approach to mobilizing and utilizing financial resources. By integrating public and private financing, we can develop cohesive strategies that align with our development goals.”

Ms Manhando also highlighted the impending launch of the Africa Virtual Investment Platform (AVIP) to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The workshop aims to strengthen the capacities of officials and stakeholders to develop effective financing strategies, promote knowledge-sharing, and generate regional dialogue on public finance trends and issues affecting INFF implementation. Serving as a crucial platform for sharing experiences and planning future actions, the insights gained will be essential for the Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in Spain in 2025.

“This workshop will be a rewarding experience for each of the participants, creating a space for knowledge sharing and learning,” Ms Schwidsowski concluded. “We are keen to deepen our partnerships to tap into the full potential of domestic resource mobilization to achieve Agenda 2030 and the AU’s Agenda 2063.”


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