Africa needs to preserve its policy space in global negotiations, says ECA Chief
As Africa hosts the 3rd Financing for Development meeting in Addis Ababa, Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the United Nations of Economic Commission for Africa is confident that Africa’s agenda is now influencing how the continent negotiates its deals.
“Africa has been vigorously promoting its own agenda and it is based on that agenda that it negotiates,” said Lopes. “The continent is conscious that all these global compacts are not going to be the transformative elements of Africa’s future. We are trying to get the best we can out of the deal but not confuse that deal with our future”.
He later tweeted that “the test of Africa is to get the best out of the deal but not let the deal affect our future”.
The ECA boss told the FFD participants that two years ago, for the first time in the history African countries decided to establish a high level committee of ten Heads of States that are responsible for all the post 2015 negotiations.
“This committee will define the interest of the continent in relation to the Africa’s defined agenda, which is spelled out in a form of vision and aspirations: ‘Agenda 2063’ and ‘the 10 year-plan’ that was approved in March 2015 by the Conference of Ministers of Finance and Economic Development of the Africa,” said Lopes. He elucidated that Industrialization on the continent is a key message of these documents. “Africa has to industrialize in a different way than what was done by other regions. Africa shall learn from the mistakes of others and will not necessarily need to do the same mistakes,” he affirmed.
With regards to Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference, Lopes believes that the meeting is different from the previous ones held in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002 and Doha, Qatar in 2008.
“The Addis Ababa meeting focuses on financial and non-financial sources of funding, which is unique,” he said. ”There are no new financial resource commitments we should expect. Most of the commitments here will focus on enhancing policy environment to leverage financial and non- financial resources.”
Lopes called for Africa to preserve its policy space saying that the continent should be careful, know what the deal is and avoid giving too much and taking anything.
He also called for clear mechanism for international debts and financial management.
“The outcomes from both Monterrey and Doha include clear commitment towards international debts workout mechanism but what we know is that little has been achieved so far,” he said. “It is crucial for Addis Ababa meeting to introduce clear mechanism in this regards and engage all stakeholders to build on consensus on how to close many gaps that exist in current financial architecture,” he said.
Lopes went on expressing how since 1970 there have been more than 180 sovereign debt restructurings initiatives highlighting that the future international architecture needs concrete and binding mechanism.