African Caucus 2022 adopts the Marrakesh Declaration
By Majok Nikodemo:
Marrakech, Morocco, 6 July 2022 – The Meetings of the African Group of Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks of the 54 African Member States of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund “African Caucus” ended, concluded on Wednesday in Marrakech, with the adoption of a final document called “Marrakesh Declaration.”
South Sudan’s delegation was headed by Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. Agak Achuil, and Governor of Bank of South Sudan, Hon. Moses Makur Deng.
South Sudan Minister of Finance, called for the regional integration and African free trade agreement, among others, through creation of roads to link landlocked countries with other coastal countries. He underscored that WBG group has tools to advance the free trade in Africa.
The participants called on the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for rapid, comprehensive, and significant debt relief to help Africa to recover from the negative repercussions caused by the pandemic crisis linked to Covid-19 and by the Ukrainian crisis, and to minimize their risks to growth prospects.
Held under the theme “Towards a resilient Africa,” they stressed the need to ensure the rapid implementation of the commitment made at the G7 Summit (June 2022) and improve multilateral debt restructuring frameworks as well as address the challenges of debt-related vulnerabilities.
The participants also called on the Bretton Woods institutions (BWIs) to accelerate work on a global debt architecture and to support the region’s call to the G20 for an extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
They further urged the BWIs to rapidly accelerate reforms that should support the extension of eligibility to heavily indebted middle-income African countries, the suspension of debt service for the duration of the negotiations, and the improved decision-making processes that ensure participation of non-Paris Club creditors on comparable terms, and transparency of loan terms and contracts, says the Marrakesh Declaration.
The finance ministers and central bank governors of the 54 African member states of the WBG and the IMF also urged the BWIs, as members of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing the development, to reform the international financial architecture to make it inclusive, efficient, and equitable and to grant Africa greater representation and a stronger voice in the governance bodies of these countries.
They specifically call on the Bretton Woods Institutions to apply their debt policies flexibly to financially constrained countries, to increase support for capacity
building in debt management and public investment, to the development of capital markets national governments, to fight against illicit financial flows, evasion, and tax evasion, while strengthening the financial and institutional apparatus of entities generating public revenues.
It is also about exploring the possibility of converting debt into investment programs to enable countries to access additional financing mechanisms without increasing their level of indebtedness, and to help Africa accelerate crisis-induced structural reforms, they added. Through the Marrakech Declaration, the participants also recommended the implementation of a regional approach for the financing of intermediate and downstream hydroelectric projects, renewable energies, and transformation of gas into electricity throughout the Continent, in order to ensure energy security and universal access to electricity.
They called on the WBG to increase its financing of public investments in the energy sector in Africa, while requesting the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to mobilize more private capital and commercial finance, emphasizing the need to deploy the most commercially attractive financial instruments and risk reduction mechanisms for private investors and to support transformations into energy projects.
This outcome document also calls for urging the WBG to accelerate funding to build digital infrastructure, platforms and network ecosystems for digital technologies and solutions that can radically bridge the digital divide, widen the access to finance, improve service delivery and create new economic opportunities for Africa.
Furthermore, the document calls on the BWIs to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other regional trading blocks to help African countries harmonize their policies, laws and regulations for the development of a Secure Digital Single Market in Africa.
In addition, participants urge the BWIs to support vibrant small and medium enterprises and start-up ecosystems in Africa so they can thrive in a growing digital economy and to support the expansion of digital literacy and growth. acquisition of digital skills. The aim is to meet labor market demands and help entrepreneurs grow their businesses within and across national borders, they explain. On the climate crisis, the Marrakesh Declaration supports the G7’s call for greater access to climate finance and paying particular attention to the most vulnerable countries, including middle-income countries. .
The participants called on the WBG to prioritize support for Africa in the implementation of its second action plan on climate change and the IMF to support Africa’s just transition towards greener economies.
The opening ceremony of was marked by a Royal Message addressed by His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco, to the participants, which was read out by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Ms. Nadia Fettah Alaoui. Several issues were on the agenda of this meeting, including the issue of debt, the challenges of digitalization and climate change and regional economic integration.
The African Caucus, of which Morocco holds the presidency for the current year, meets once a year, to coordinate and harmonize the positions of the African Governors concerning the annual memorandum which is sent to the IMF and the WBG and presented on the Annual Meetings of these two institutions.