African countries need to move forward on financing to improve their performance on the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s transformation Agenda 2063.

This is according to panellists at a session to highlight progress made at regional and sub-regional levels in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The session was held at the opening of the Eighth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 2022) in Kigali, Rwanda.

Acting Director of Macroeconomics and Governance at the ECA, Bartholomew Armah, who presented the 2020 Sustainable Development Report (SDR) report findings at the session said domestic resource mobilization needs to be improved, as the share of domestic debt to GDP had increased.

“The reliance on raising resources from outside the continent results in higher debt servicing costs due to a high “African premium” – compared to other regions. The special drawing rights (SDR) amounting to 650 billion recently approved by the IMF provides an important source of non-debt resources because the cost of using SDRs is relatively low,” he said.

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He outlined other modalities, such as broadening tax bases and stemming corruption, redoubling digitization of economies, enhancing support to social services and creating an enabling policy environment to spur private investments and innovation.

“Building back better requires smart financing that can blend with our domestic resources and external financing. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will help us leverage on the African financing initiatives,” he added.

He stressed the need to invest in data, and the capacity for monitoring and evaluation, as well as risk identification in national development plans, noting that measuring the implementation of the SDGs and Agenda 2063 should be based on sound data and deeper analysis.

Referencing Malawi’s strategy to implement the two agendas, Thomas Munthali, Director General of the Malawi National Planning Commission, said the country had focused on domesticating both Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 based on a clear alignment with its National Development Plan and the Malawi 2063 Vision.

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“The vision is grounded on inclusive wealth creation with the view to becoming a self-reliant nation by 2063, leaving nobody behind in the spirit of Agenda 2030,” said Munthali.

The country’s 10-year implementation plan, he said, was also driven by the ambition of meeting most of the SDGs, including those that impact the empowerment of women who constitute 94% of the informal sector. The plan’s key foundations are education, social protection, market and labor economy, and a sound macroeconomic environment.

The director recognised ECA’s support in training line ministries and relevant commissions to align the twin Agendas and the National Development Plan and underscored the country’s capacity needs in the area of access to finance. He also urged African member states to use the ECA’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Toolkit (IPRT) to support the alignment of both agendas, “so that the continent can become a formidable force in the international agenda.”