Digital technologies could offer Africa a great chance to unlock new pathways for rapid, inclusive economic growth and job creation, according to Ambassador Albert Muchanga, the African Union’s Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals.
In an address to the recent 55th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Muchanga said the continent needed to raise the requisite funding to develop its digital knowledge base to achieve growth.
“Mobilization of domestic resources should be prioritized with a particular emphasis on fighting illicit financial flows, which deprive the continent of approximately $90 billion annually,” he said at the conference organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Speaking on the theme “Fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities,” Commissioner Muchanga recognized the continent’s successes in adapting some of these technologies, particularly in mobile money services.
“But these transformations must expand beyond current levels to achieve the objectives of Agenda 2063, create a massive number of jobs for the youth, and tackle poverty and inequalities,” he said.
He said committing to UNECA’s program on inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa to support the Sustainable Development Goals(link is external), the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the Africa Development Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities would help improve livelihoods on the continent.
He said the Commission had partnered with the African Development Bank and the AUDA-NEPAD to embark on a study on achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa,” The study’s target would be the achievement of a prosperous continent based on inclusive growth and sustainable development anchored on 7-10% growth rates between 2023 and 2063.
The study, which prioritizes human capital development and harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend, will be completed by December, said Muchanga. In his remarks, the Acting Executive Secretary of UNECA, Antonio Pedro, said Africa is at the center of global sustainability transitions, including electrification of transportation infrastructure, accelerated deployment of renewable energy, demographic dynamics, and climate action.
“These transitions should underpin Africa’s path towards recovery, ensuring structured transformation to economic diversification, building resilience, and achieving sustainable and inclusive growth in line with Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063,” Pedro said.
Africa’s growth is rebounding at 4.1%, and inflation has slowed to 12%, he said, adding that what was needed to achieve a breakthrough on the continent was double-digit growth. Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Kenneth Ofori-Atta, said that Africa could not continue with the present global financial architecture in which its countries lack access to the resources needed for recovery. “The toolkit that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have is inadequate to support where Africa needs to go,” he added.