Fana: At a Speed of Life!

Ethiopia calls for global financial reset to boost African dev’t endeavors

Addis Ababa, April 23, 2024 (FBC) – In her opening remarks at the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Addis Ababa earlier today, Minister of Planning and Development of Ethiopia, Fitsum Aseffa, emphasized Ethiopia’s commitment to promoting innovation, resource mobilization, and youth empowerment as critical drivers for achieving sustainable development goals.

The 10th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, hosted by the Government of Ethiopia, commenced in Addis Ababa today. The forum’s opening was attended by high-profile figures including the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa Claver Gatete, Ethiopia’s Minister of Planning and Development Fitsum Aseffa, representatives from various African countries, and UN Resident Coordinators from across Africa.

Speaking on behalf of the FDRE President Sahle-Work Zewde, Minister Fitsum Aseffa emphasized the need to intensify efforts in reinforcing and aligning the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 to eradicate poverty and achieve inclusive sustainable development. She called for a renewed commitment to solidarity and close collaboration to realize a shared vision of a more just, resilient, and sustainable world for present and future generations.

Minister Fitsum also highlighted Ethiopia’s experiences in development endeavors, noting the country’s significant strides in mobilizing domestic and international resources for rapid and sustained economic growth. She pointed out that Ethiopia stands out as one of the few African nations that have achieved impressive results in implementing the AU Agenda 2063, particularly in innovative financing mobilization.

Furthermore, she stressed the importance of promoting youth-driven innovation as a potent catalyst for advancing sustainable development. By leveraging innovation, transformative changes can be accelerated, progress enhanced, and new opportunities unlocked for inclusive development and poverty alleviation.

In addition, Minister Fitsum underscored the critical need to demonstrate unwavering commitment to mobilizing sufficient resources to finance development plans. This involves promoting savings and advocating for reforms within multilateral financial institutions. Through active participation in collective multilateral efforts, countries can ensure that necessary resources are allocated to support their development initiatives.

Looking ahead, Fitsum mentioned the upcoming Summit of the Future, scheduled for September 2024 in New York, as pivotal for prioritizing the implementation of key frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the forthcoming outcome document of the 4th Financing for Development Conference in Spain next year.

These initiatives collectively form the foundation of global cooperation and action towards a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future, Fitsum emphasized.

Meanwhile, Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General said urgent action is needed to increase capital flows into developing countries, particularly in Africa to make the SDGs stimulus a reality. She also urged the international community to support Africa in its efforts to deliver its vision for development through the SDGs 2030 agenda and Agenda 2063.

Ms. Mohammed told the multi-stakeholder forum of member states representatives, youth, civil society and private sector actors that African countries are facing significant challenges, including debt servicing, rising interest rates and limited fiscal space.
“Debt servicing in Africa is at an all-time high due to external shocks, leaving very little fiscal space or nothing to invest in sustainable development.” Furthermore, debt servicing “accounted for a staggering 47.5% of government revenue in Sub Saharan Africa last year. This is the primary expenditure on essential services, as well as investments in the continent’s future in areas of education and health,” she said. 

According to Ms. Mohammed, at least $500 billion a year is needed to scale up affordable long-term financing for development, alongside structural reforms within the very institutions and rules that make up the international financial architecture.

For his part, UNECA chief Claver Gatete noted that Africa’s critical challenges require transformative actions that are sustainable, resilient and innovative to achieve the SDGs including investments in food systems, energy, digital connectivity, education, climate change.

According to him, Africa’s infrastructure and climate change needs estimated to cost between $68 billion and $108 billion annually. Innovative financing mechanisms, coupled with global financial architecture reforms, can unlock new avenues 4 sustainable investment and inclusive growth.

He said that African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a unique opportunity for the continent to boost agribusiness and enhance food security. He underscored that it is also a cornerstone of resilience in the face of multifaceted challenges, adding that collaboration, partnerships and private sector engagement are key in catalyzing change.

By Mesafint Brlie

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