Time to reduce dependence on foreign aid -Akufo-Addo to African policymakers

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President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday called on African researchers and policy makers to scale up policies that would reduce the continent’s dependence on foreign aid.

They should pursue a path of self-respect and take actionable steps to create the enabling environment to build prosperity and development to make Africa rich and resilient, he said.

“The time to pursue a path of prosperity and self-respect for the African Continent is now,” he said at the opening of the 22nd Academy of African Business and Development (AABD) Conference, at the University of Professional Studies, Accra.

The six-day conference, on the theme: “Sustainable Development Beyond Aid: The Focus for Africa,” is being attended by researchers, business practitioners, consultants, community leaders, and policy makers.

The AABD annual conferences aim at facilitating multidisciplinary research by stimulating collaborations between Africa based researchers and professionals and their counterparts around the world, by broadening and deepening global understanding of various issues relevant to Africa’s business and development, as well as advancing solutions to some of the challenges.

President Akufo-Addo said the concept of “Africa beyond Aid” was about acknowledging development in a sustainable manner, ‘taking the bull by the horns’, and take responsibility for sustainable growth while perceiving fellow African countries as key stakeholders in development.

Africa must chart the path of self-dependence and her countries must engage with each other competitively through trade and investments and cooperate for enhanced regional and global peace and security, he said.

The Continent ought to move more towards the efficient and effective mobilisation and use of resources to grow out of the dependence on aid rather than a rejection of aid, he stressed.

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“We seem to have missed out on many opportunities to make Africa the continent she deserves to be, rich and resilient. But it is not too late to right the wrongs, it is time to catch them now.”

“It is time to create the future we want for our continent, and it is time to start building that future inspired by the imperative to transform our economy from raw material producing and exporting economies to value adding industrial economies.”

The President, thus, urged the conference to ensure its deliberations helped Africa’s quest to get to the point beyond aid.

The proceedings of the meeting, he implored, should contain actionable proposals for consideration. He urged participants to also focus attention on the IMF’s unprecedented Special Drawing Rights reallocation, for which Africa shared some 30 billion dollars, much less than 100 billion dollars promised in the 2019 Paris Summit, intended to provide additional financial resources to address the vast surging inequities the pandemic has revealed.

President Akufo-Addo asked the conference to articulate policies that would help strengthen African financial institutions like the African Development Bank, AfriExim Bank, and the Africa Finance Corporation, to enable them to take over greater responsibility for the financing of Africa’s development.

They should advocate debt cancellation for African countries to provide a sound foundation for the continent’s future progress.

The President asked the meeting to propose measures to help significantly increase Africa’s capacity for domestic revenue mobilisation to finance its development potential, create opportunities for the Continent’s vibrant and dynamic youth, and develop and deliver improved livelihoods for the people.

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They should re-evaluate the role of foreign credit rating agencies, which acted as gatekeepers to global capital markets and their modus operandi, including the fixing of the so-called Africa risk premium.

Additionally, participants must examine the measures available to Africa to check the illicit outflow of capital from the Continent, which is currently estimated around 100 billion dollars per year.

The conference should also place the development of Africa at the centre of the preoccupations of the African diaspora, President Akufo-Addo said.

The conference is expected to deliberate on issues relating to over 14 thematic areas: Accounting, Finance, and Investment; International Aid, Economic Policies and Strategies; Entrepreneurship, Small Business and the Informal Sector Exporting, Internationalisation and Foreign Direct Investment; Information and Communication Technology, Digital Transformation; and COVID-19 and Business in Africa.

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