Solving the problem of poor governance in Africa will contribute to the structural transformation of its economies, say conference partners
What undermines African economic activities is poor governance. It costs Africa dearly, senior representatives from the African Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) agreed during the opening press conference of the 12th African Economic Conference on Monday, December 4 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The three institutions also underscored the need to make politicians aware of growing good governance practices “in the hope of structural transformation in Africa.”
This is what emerged from the exchanges between the press and three senior figures representing the three partner organizations – Célestin Monga, Vice-President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, and Chief Economist at the African Development Bank; Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist at the UN Economic Commission for Africa; and Lamin Momodou Manneh, Director of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa.
At the press conference, which was attended by African and international media, researchers, politicians, civil society and representatives of the private sector, the partners called on African governments to put governance at the centre of their programmes, in order to bring about real structural transformation of their economies.
The three senior figures, in turn, underlined the challenges and opportunities of transformational growth of the African economies, expressing the opinion that poor governance had a cost in terms of Africa’s economic stability. In their view, permanently solving this problem meant breaking with the bad practices which impair the objectivity of economic results.
Poor governance contributes to poor elections, which, among other things, produce the domino effect of undermining institutions, justice and equality of opportunity in Africa.
Despite the economic progress made in recent years, governance poses a serious problem in Africa, they stressed, adding that with its enormous potential, the region should be one of the most prosperous on the planet.
UNDP’s Lamin Momodou Manneh, for his part, emphasized the improvement in macroeconomic stability and the business environment in Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tanzania. That, in his view, was the main driver of the increase in financial flows and one reason for those countries’ sound financial health and governance.
He also pointed to the link between poor governance and the weakness of African countries, noting that corruption generates distortions and drives public investment away from priority sectors and towards projects where bribes and kickbacks are more frequent. “Things must change for good, to avoid continuing to imperil the continent’s economic development,” he said.