The first meeting of Finance Ministers from the seven African countries— Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia— has taken place in Accra.
The seven countries belong to the G-20 Compact with Africa (CWA) which was launched, following the G-20 Africa Partnership Conference in Berlin and the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.
The CWA seeks to support Africa Compact countries to improve macroeconomic, business and financial framework for attracting private investment; strengthen their public sector financial and debt management, and to encourage private investment from G-20 countries.
The objective of the meeting was, therefore, to explore what role the CWA could play in African economic transformation.
The CWA being central to the economic transformation agenda of Africa, the focus of the meeting was to express commitment and support to the Compact Agenda; provide stocktaking of progress made and to outline the next steps, including a peer learning framework to address common challenges over the next three years.
Also present at the meeting, which was organized by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in collaboration with the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), were representatives from Burkina Faso, Benin, Gambia, Liberia and Guinea.
In an address to open the meeting, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, noted that the pillars of the CWA fell in line with the Government of Ghana’s (GoG’s) overarching goal of building a very business-friendly environment un-paralleled in Africa which would create jobs and stimulate growth and wealth creation.
For example, Dr Bawumia said, under the macroeconomic framework pillar of CWA, GoG was focused on prudent expenditure management to reduce expenditure, broadening the tax base and enhancing tax compliance to reverse the unfavourable debt dynamics.
GoG, he said, was also pursuing domestic debt re-profiling to lengthen maturities and reduce the cost of credit.
He said under the business framework pillar, GoG was creating the Ghana Business e-Registry and developing model contracts in line with international best practice while under the financial framework pillar GoG was reducing government dominance in the domestic debt market and promoting corporate issuance.
Dr Bawumia said the CWA was central to the economic transformation agenda related to the three pillars, adding that even though the CWA was an initiative of the G-20, Ghana needed to own and drive the Compact’s implementation.
He stressed the need for Ghana to begin to contemplate a future beyond aid, that is a future with enhanced productive capacity, a robust private sector, and one where infrastructure gaps were met while urging Compact countries to use the Compact to harness the transformational opportunities as well as the capacity to learn from each other.
In his remarks, Ghana’s Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, underscored the importance of the private investment to creating a modern productive agriculture and the industries that would process Africa’s resources, and generate productive employment for the growing youth population.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the CWA’s focus on better fiscal management and increasing private sector investment, fully identified with Africa’s agenda, adding that many African countries, including Ghana, were already pursuing national growth and transformation programmes that prioritized these objectives.
What the CWA offered, he said, was, therefore, an opportunity and support to re-double efforts in pursuing African countries’ own agendas and, more importantly, a framework that offered the opportunity to work together—through peer learning and mutual motivation—so as to accelerate our progress.
He said in order for Africa to meet its infrastructure requirements of about US$340 billion by 2040, the private sector had to be an important financing partner.