Ministerial Round-table-President Abdoulaye Wade’s Proposals
Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, who participated on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, in a ministerial roundtable held on the theme: “Africa and the Financial Crisis: Agenda for Action”, highlighted the work done by the current AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka. He said Mr. Kaberuka had placed the institution at a very high level with regard to resources and operations. “The AfDB is meeting our expectations at a time when resources are increasing getting scarce,” he said. These remarks did not leave Mr. Kaberuka indifferent. He drew attention to the depth and richness of the analysis Mr. Wade’s wanted to share with participants at the roundtable.
Like the good economics professor he was, President Wade spoke as a teacher in order to get his message across. In his view, the financial crisis is simply a global governance crisis whose solution will not be found in financial cycles. Such a crisis can only be overcome by a real economy, he said. The Senegalese president expressed the wish that Africa’s contributions be considered in proposals that are being made to overcome the crisis. “Crises generated in Europe, can only find their solutions in Afrique,” he said. This implies that Africa is capable of “absorbing surplus speculative capital.” “How do we [then] convince owners of speculative capital to come and invest in Africa where they would have guaranteed returns?” he asked.
In his view, the crisis stems, in particular, from a deficit of governance. Even if the crisis had, first and foremost, been financial, the focus should be on the big picture. All global institutions are, as a result involved, including the UN Security Council. “All the sectors are, today, affected. We, Africans, must reflect on all these problems,” he said, advising that such an opportunity should never be missed.
The Senegalese leader made two suggestions in this regard. He called for a modification of the system of quotas – which relies on the wealth of member countries – which governs the functioning of the IMF. He called for drawing rights for poor countries. He also said that Special Drawing Rights (SDR) be created specifically for Africa. He called for greater decentralization of the World Bank’s structures in order to give real decision-making power to those structures that are located on the continent.
He commended the African Union’s initiative to carry out a study on the crisis. Dakar, he said, would serve as the venue of a meeting of African intellectuals on the different aspects of the crisis in October 2009. He later expressed many ideas, calling on rich countries to guarantee, through their treasury bonds, borrowings by poor countries. He called on African countries to resort to a mutual guarantee in order to pool their debt capacity and mobilize resources together. This, he said, could make it possible to finance, in particular, infrastructure projects. There cannot be any growth and development without proper infrastructure, he said. He urged developed countries, starting with Europe, to subvention African exports as they are already doing with theirs
He called for the CFAF 4, 000 billion belonging to African countries and which has been invested in capital markets to be brought back to the continent.