How to Finance Africa Sustainable Development Post 2015?

Public Debate – Towards the Third Financing for Development Conference in July 2015 – Tuesday 19 May 2015 from 14:00  @ African Union Commission Headquarter

My Opening Remarks


Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocol observed,

Thank you for joining this public debate co-hosted by the African Union Commission’s Department for Economic Affairs and Oxfam Liaison Office to the African Union

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) will take place on 13-16 July 2015, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We expected the conference to be held at the highest possible political level, including Heads of State or Government, relevant ministers – ministers for finance, foreign affairs and development cooperation – and other special representatives.

This conference will set the scene for governments’ efforts to mobilize development finance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for the period 2016 – 2030.

Decisions of the  FfD must be bold, visionary, and lead to transformative change if today we are to create universal equitable and sustainable prosperity within planetary boundaries, and fulfil international human rights obligations for future generations.

FFD must build on the foundations of the previous FfD in 2002 in Mexico which is “to eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development as we advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system.”

The Third FFD Meeting will be then crucial to ending extreme poverty and tackling inequality everywhere. The conference will also lay the foundation for an agreement in September in New York on the new sustainable development goals, and for a binding climate-change agreement in December in Paris

The Financing for Development process come at a critical time, and must deliver on a number of issues for other crucial global agreements to bear fruit.

This conference will be the 3rd to be organized. The last one happened in Monterrey in Mexico in 2002.

The Addis Ababa event will have a different dimension compare to the previous FFD in Monterrey

  • Monterrey took place after agreement had been reached on the MDGs, while Addis will happen before formal the adoptions of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Monterrey was focused on a government-to-government agreement but a larger number of stakeholders will be involved in Addis Ababa, including businesses, academics, civil society, scientists, and local authorities.

The conference should unlock finance from many different sources, including but not exclusively aid, to implement the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals.

Addis Ababa meeting will take place in the context of a slow global growth, in a world being devastated by conflicts and facing serious natural disasters and climate issues.

Agreements should have significant consequences for successful implementation of the SDGs at national, regional and global level.

Recommendations should be clearly actionable, with next steps in implementation that are easy to understand, easy to confirm and easy to tract.

There are other previous commitments already made which have not yet been met. There is a need for renewed efforts to meet these commitments; such commitments include meeting the target to provide 0.7% of Gross National Income in Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Given the high expectations placed on the FFD3 and the need to deliver tangible results, it is expected that the Addis Ababa Agreement mobilize international action around specific initiatives focusing on education, health, smallholder agriculture and nutrition, infrastructure etc.

The global scene and challenges have changed since the setting up of the MDGs.

We now have more scientific knowledge about climate change, rapidly growing tax evasion, unsustainable debt burdens, and the impact of trade agreements on domestic resource mobilization in developing countries.

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have faced many of the greatest challenges in making progress toward the MDGs.

With limited trade and financial links to the rest of the world, LDCs have not gained substantial benefits from globalization, yet they are bearing many of the costs of global progress, such as climate change.

Since the FfD3 process began, lines seem to be drawn, between the global South and the global North.

The Group of 77 and China (G77) the African Group, the Least Developed Countries, Brazil, India, and other states and blocs consistently defend the right to development.

Developed countries including the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and others assert that all countries have to take responsibility.

FFD must result in finding resources for the upcoming SDGs: This must include both financial resources, non-financial measures including technology transfer and capacity building, as well as international systemic issues of finance, trade, tax etc.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Radical change is needed in the development finance architecture to make it fair and just…

For every $1 dollar developing countries gain from development partners, they lose around $2 dollars (especially in illicit financial flows and debt repayments).

Aid figures are minimized by outflows from corporate tax dodging and illicit flows, lending to developed countries, and profits to private investors.

To rebalance the terms of international financing, to ensure developing countries get their just and fair share, courageous decisions must be taken in Addis Ababa.

As a priority, governments must create a system that ensures multinational companies pay tax where the economic activity takes place and limit discretionary tax incentives so that the hundreds of billions in potential tax revenue credit governments’ budgets.  


A Few Questions to Ourselves:

How are we going to deal with Domestic Public Finance?

Are we seeing it as Primary source of development, or complement to aid?

How do we mobilize it, How do we manage it properly?

How do we ensure accountability and transparency on the use of our national resources in order to finance our development?

Who has the responsibility to track and stop Illicit Financial Flows?

What about those assets illegally taken from Africa mostly through practices of tax evasion, trade and services mispricing as well as transfer pricing abuses by transnational corporations?

How do we deal with the lost of  $50-$60 billion a year in illicit financial outflows from Africa. An amount that is more or less equal to the total foreign direct investment (FDI) and more than the total Development Assistance that the continent receives annually?

How do we respond to Domestic and International Private Business and Finance, being promoted by western partners?

Are the current rules of International Trade favourable for Sustainable Development?

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are some of the questions on the table…

Make sure your opinion and your voice are heard in this debate.

The outcome of this discussion will be compiled in a report to be widely disseminated.

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