May 29, 2023

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A year of opportunities for Africa

WASHINGTON, DC – At the start of an important new year, the continent’s gross domestic product is expected to grow by a notch. Relatively moderate speed of 4.1%A number of measures can be taken by governments to increase economic activity and promote a sustainable future.

For starters, political leaders should promote trade and investment through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). If this agreement is fully implemented, the collective costs of households and businesses in Africa could indeed be reached $6.7 trillion in 2030, $16.12 trillion in 2050It will transform value chains and reduce poverty on the continent.

Eight African countries – Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia – started trading last year. Guided business venture of the AfCFTA. To build on this momentum in 2023, political leaders must accelerate the implementation of the next phases of the agreement, improve intra-African integration and focus attention. First hits observed. In addition, the removal of non-tariff barriers, via creation Reporting and control mechanismsReduces trade costs and encourages states to increase imports.

Political leaders should also make greater use of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies such as artificial intelligence. Cloud computing, creating new value chains and building economic resilience. In order to be fully exploited Ability to change Related to these instruments, political leaders must also respect Engagement infrastructures They have been developed at the 2022 African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification. Political leaders should consider investments in several strategically important sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agribusiness, automotive and logistics. Similarly, sub-Saharan governments should invest in education, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and digital skills, and partner with private sector actors to expand access to information and communication services and mobile phones.

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At the same time, as Africa’s economic future depends heavily on the continent’s ability to redefine its global status, governments should capitalize on their recent diplomatic advances. In recent years, African governments have assumed a larger international role and have formed a united front in multilateral climate negotiations. US President Joe Biden has called for an AU A permanent member of the G20This will contribute to the consolidation of the position of the AU The world’s leading agricultural negotiating body. Adopting a common agenda would allow African leaders to secure funding for sustainability-related projects, as well as lead the United States, China and the European Union to fulfill their promises.

Given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, rising inflation and climate change on income and wealth inequality in Africa, concerted action is increasingly necessary. Failing that, the United Nations believes that at least 492 million Africans could sink into extreme poverty by 2030, with at least 350 million of them at risk of not being able to break out of it before 2050. Furthermore, despite recent advances in gender equality in educational opportunities and political representation, African women continue to remain Almost to live below the poverty line, experience severe food insecurity, and leave the labor market to play the role of caregivers.

Addressing organizational decline

To achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, African countries must focus on quality education, health and job creation programs. African development agencies, such as the AU Development Agency, should be given the necessary resources and authority to do so. task.

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However, to build these capacities, African governments must address institutional decay. As Freedom House’s annual report on freedom in the world demonstrates, 2022 16e A consecutive year of democratic decline Across the world, Africa is no exception. While continuing to be independent, political instability, corruption and lack of accountability can undermine it. Even the best political moves. By working with partners and using evidence-based methods to monitor programs, support their implementation, and guide decision-making, African governments can hope to bridge the gap between political intentions and on-the-ground results.

Finally, a just and sustainable ecological transition is the most urgent challenge for Africa. Climate is vulnerable. When needed by African countries $2.8 trillion by 2030 To meet the emissions targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, annual inflows of climate finance in Africa are limited to $30 billion. However, governments can and should build on the momentum created by the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, resulting in a Major new result, namely the creation of a “loss and damage” fund aimed at supporting developing countries in mitigating the worst effects of climate change. Political leaders must mobilize these resources to invest in adaptation efforts and renewable energy.

African leaders should use the current period to accelerate the continent’s transition to a carbon neutral economy. This promises to be a pivotal year in the fight against climate change, as Africa can make important strides towards a more equitable, sustainable and more resilient future.

Translated from the English by Martin Morel