President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for a reform of the global financial architecture (GFA) to enable it respond better to the needs of Africa.
He has also called for the cancellation of debts owed by African countries, in the wake of COVID-19.
The President, who made the call on Tuesday when he addressed the Summit on Financing African Economies, in Paris, France, pointed out that the global financial architecture, created by the Bretton Woods Conference, had proven to be unfavourable to Africa over the past 77 years and should be overhauled.
He noted that the economies of Europe, America, and Asia had grown significantly during the period, whilst those of Africa had not due to the collateral damage from the Cold War, inequity in the global economic system, an economic relationship built on power and resource grab, as well as leadership and governance issues on the continent.
“These challenges have resulted in a global economic system that has proven to be incapable of supporting lives and livelihoods, and allocating sufficient long-term resources to support Africa’s economic transformation.”
President Akufo-Addo noted further that Africa’s development finance cost does not reflect its economic fundamentals, credit, or default cost, citing the case of Ghana where the country’s sovereign debt is more expensive than that of the similarly-rated Belarus, which pays some 100 basis points less than Ghana.
He stressed that the structural inequities confronting African economies had been worsened by COVID-19, evidenced by the fact that a mere two per cent of the 1.3 billion vaccine doses administered globally, at the end of April, were in Africa.
“The pandemic has also ensured that the total fiscal deficit of Africa rose from 4.7% of GDP in 2019 to 8.7% in 2020; overall debt levels are also estimated to have increased from 57% of GDP in 2019 to 70% in 2021. Without the fiscal room to breathe, Africa could truly become ‘the forgotten continent, and that is why there is urgent need for comprehensive debt relief and debt cancellation.
“Just as the Bretton Woods institutions helped to rebuild the post-war global economy, and rekindled international economic cooperation, 77 years ago, there is now a historic opportunity to reset the global financial system’s economic rules to give African countries an equal chance at development, in the wake of the pandemic, ” he said.
President Akufo-Addo proposed an overhaul of the current global financial architecture to provide for access and equity to long-term finance to support economic transformation in Africa.
This, he said, should include the establishment of an African Stability Mechanism, akin to the European Stability Mechanism, which would stand as a permanent firewall for Africa to safeguard and provide instant emergency access to financial assistance for countries in financial difficulty.
The President also suggested the bridging of the immediate liquidity and potential insolvency issues confronting the African continent and its financial institutions.
“I urge the IMF to on-lend twenty-five to thirty per cent of new six hundred and fifty billion dollars (US$650 billion) SDRs, to support low and vulnerable middle-income countries before the 2021 annual meetings, increase IDA funding to strengthen the balance sheet of the World Bank, replenish the African Development Bank and Afreximbank to support investment in green investments, facilitate trade, and support the private sector to create jobs and build back better,” he added.
With Africa projected to be the home of a quarter of the world’s population, and with more than half of the global youth population, and, potentially, having a GDP of some twenty-nine trillion United States dollars by 2050, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that “it is, thus, in our collective interest to create the conditions that will enable such a development to be of benefit to the entire globe.”