Illicit financial flows, debt management dominate African economists meeting


  • World
  • Friday, 08 Dec 2023

ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Illicit financial flows and debt management have dominated discussions as African economists convened to examine what the continent must do to finance its development agenda efficiently and sustainably.

The Sixth Congress of African Economists is underway from Dec. 6-8, under the theme "Financing Africa's Development Beyond Crisis," in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, the African Union (AU) said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

The forum gathered African economists from across the continent and the diaspora to deepen their understanding and analyze the implications of illicit financial flows and the effectiveness of the debt management strategies employed at the national level.

Albert Muchanga, the AU commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, said at the forum to navigate the financial strain and sustainably finance Africa's development, the continent must improve domestic resource mobilization to bridge the budget deficit gap.

Muchanga said that Africa's socioeconomic transformation requires 75 percent of resources to be mobilized domestically and at the same time, increase investment from the current level of 20 percent to 40 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

According to the AU, the impact of the global shocks induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions and climate change continue to affect Africa's growth trajectory.

Data from the AU show that Africa's GDP is projected to grow 4 percent in 2023, lower than 4.8 percent in 2021 but above the 3.7 percent recorded in 2022.

"Despite this positive trend, Africa's growth remains below the pre-pandemic average of 5 percent and far below the needed 7 to 10 percent level expected in the long-run to achieve the Aspirations of Africa's development framework Agenda 2063," the AU said.

During the three-day meeting, the economists will delve into issues addressing the macroeconomic dynamics and implications of illicit financial flows on Africa's development, interlinkages between debt and illicit financial flows on Africa's development, and causes, drivers, and estimates of illicit financial flows in Africa, among others.

The AU organizes the Congress of African Economists every two years. The platform serves as a continental policy dialogue, which aims to analyze emerging economic issues that are critical to Africa's transformation to design and implement optimal solutions.

According to the AU, the outcomes of the meeting are critical for policy formulation and decision-making processes of the AU and its member states and inform the regional policy debates.

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