African countries need policies that can help build resilience, raise potential growth and enhance inclusiveness, if the continent is to achieve the sustainable development goals and aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Mr Adam Elhiraika, Director of the Macroeconomics and Governance Division of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), stated this on Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco.
In his presentation to the 38th meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Elhiraika gave an overview of Africa’s recent economic and social development performance.
He said the continent also needs policies to diversify and structurally transform, to better support its industrialisation and enhance intra-African trade through the game-changing African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“To reduce vulnerabilities from global economic conditions, such as the tightening of global financial markets, currency fluctuations, capital outflows and volatility of commodity process, African countries need to enhance resilience.
“They could do this through the appropriate combination of fiscal, monetary, exchange rate and prudential policies to maintain their growth momentum,” Elhiraika said.
He said that there is also a need for policies that can help improve debt management on the continent and harness urbanisation as a strong vehicle for generating fiscal revenues to finance sustainable development.
Elhiraika said Africa’s growth is projected to remain strong, moderating around 3.2 per cent in 2018, but expected to recover to 3.4 per cent in 2019 and 3.8 per cent in 2020.
The continent’s fiscal and current account balance narrowed, though still relatively high, while high debt levels continue to pose a concern to long-term development.
The ECA Director said the AfCFTA is expected to enhance intra-African trade and growth with marginal losses in revenues.
“Africa has made good progress in social outcomes, but inclusion especially in areas of health and education, remains elusive,” he said.
He said that socio-economic conditions were improving, though at a slow pace.
According to him, under-five mortality ratio fell by 42 per cent between 1990 and 2017, while income inequality has declined, though still relatively high at 0.44.
Elhiraika explained that the number of working poor declined 52.8 per cent in 2000 to 33.5 per cent in 2015 and is projected to further decline to 30.4 per cent in 2019, with steady progress being recorded towards gender parity.
The conference is being held under the theme: ‘Fiscal policy, trade and the private sector: A strategy for Africa.’ (NAN)