Africa must lead the charge in mobilizing domestic resources to recover from multiple economic and social crises, Acting Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Antonio Pedro has urged.
A UNECA statement issued Wednesday quoted Pedro as saying that multiple economic and social crises have deepened poverty and widened inequality on the continent, warning that Africa risks missing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Africa currently leads in global poverty,” Pedro told participants at the 41st meeting of the Committee of Experts that began Wednesday, according to the statement.
Pedro cautioned that without bold financial and climate action, Africa will be locked into a poverty trap, noting that more than half of the world’s poor were in Africa.
He said the COVID-19 outbreak had pushed 62 million people in the continent into poverty in just one year, with an additional 18 million estimated to have joined their ranks by the end of 2022.
As many as 149 million non-poor remain at high risk of falling into poverty, Pedro said, adding that 695 million people in Africa were either poor or face the risk of falling into poverty.
Pedro said governments must design strategies that simultaneously integrate economic, social and environmental objectives.
“First, we need to finance our development,” Pedro urged, emphasizing that getting the macroeconomic fundamentals right can unlock the potential of home-grown solutions.
He noted that Africa must aggressively pursue sustainable industrialization and economic diversification to transform its natural resources into tangible benefits for its people, indicating the battery and electric value chain development was a case in point.
“Put simply, our wealth in natural resources must work for the majority, not the few. To get to this point, we must be intentional in our approach,” said Pedro. Enditem