African Finance Ministers see need for more public investments

African ministers of finance, planning and economic development underscored in Marrakech the need for diversifying public revenue with a view to promoting public investments in the social and economic areas.

This came in the closing statement of the 52nd Session of the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development held in Marrakech, March 20-26 under the theme: Fiscal policy, trade and the private sector in the digital era: A strategy for Africa.

This year’s theme recognized the need to improve domestic resource mobilization on the continent and increase competitiveness leveraging on the strength of digital technology.

The African ministers called for bolstering funding of the private sector to complement state finances in order to meet sustainable development goals or SDGs.

They noted that African governments run on strained budgets despite tax and budgetary reforms, stressing the need for bolstering the deployment of digital tools to improve the implementation of budgetary policy and the funding of development on the basis of taxability.

In a continent where mobile phone penetration exceeded 44% in 2018 and is expected to stand at 51% in 2019, the African ministers deemed that the involvement of the private sector will offer opportunities for online operations of retail sales and the development of services.

However, countries of the continent have to improve access to the internet as well as their cybersecurity.

For the ministers, improving tax revenues also requires the facilitation of collection as well as administration efficiency.

The conference also discussed the fiscal policies necessary for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) within the frameworks of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and Africa’s development program, Agenda 2063.

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