Business & Economy - News - March 23, 2021

COVID-19: ECA tasks African economies to leverage on $13trn investment Fund to expedite recovery

To expedite the recovery of African economies from the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says it has established a $13 trillion fund for countries and others in the private sector to leverage on to boost investments to boost growth.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, ECA, Vera Songwe, disclosed this on Monday at the opening of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, in Addis Ababa.
The hybrid conference has as its theme: “Africa’s Sustainable Industrialization and Diversification in the Digital Era in the Context of COVID-19”.
The Executive Secretary urged member-countries to put together, a better transparency investment package to access the fund to boost their economies.
Songwe said African economies needed to recover fast, adding that the Commission and others in the private sector, had created a scheme by which the countries could access funds to facilitate their economic growth.
“I want to talk about the African bank which has been able to provide N8 billion to 470 banks in the last year to respond to the crisis.
“ECA and many others in the private sector have worked together to come up with a scheme to allow us to create a liquidity and sustainability facility, by getting money from the private sector, particularly for markets, where we have 13 trillion dollars of investment that is ready.
“It will not come if Africa does not put together a better transparency package, better transparency on the illicit financial flows, and we need the financial community to work with you.”
The executive secretary called for additional “injections of liquidity” and investments into the African economy to get children back to schools, ensure reduction in poverty, job creation and economic growth.
A lot of African countries, she said, are now using more of the Internet, as studies in the African Development Bank and others have shown that Africa can invest in technology to ensure the continent’s youths can use technology to provide access to schools, better jobs creation and ensure poverty reduction.
She said the Commission was asking some of those special drawing rights that go to the developed countries to be on-lend to the developing countries, emerging markets in Africa in particular so that we can respond.
Africa, she said, has done better in terms of its health response to COVID-19 compared to the developed countries.
“The data is sketchy and we are still going to get a few more of the data back. It has shown that Africa has not suffered and we have seen four million cases, 107,000 deaths and about 3.5 million recoveries. That is much better than most have seen,” Songwe said.
She, however, said Africa needed to recover green, noting that “we create actually more jobs if we build back green”.
Songwe also called on member-countries to create value out of their resources and financial systems, adding: “We need the continent to also create value out of productivity. We need to make our factories work and services work better for our economies.
“This means that we need to do better in public financial management and the crowd in the private sector to work with us as we build an Africa that we want,” she said. (NAN)

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