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Marrakech consensus calls for greater partnership between private and public sector

Friday, 17 October 2014

MARRAKECH - Over 900 stakeholders from across the African continent, including the Presidents of Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal as well as the Prime Ministers of Morocco and Cape Verde convened in Morocco for the UN's Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) African Development Forum. Participants came from 56 countries of which 37 countries were African.

Keeping with the spirit of youth, the organisers invited a young Kenyan, Lawrence Muli, from the Africa Youth Initiative to present the Marrakech Consensus. The consensus included recommendations to using fiscal policies to address issues of poverty and improving regulatory frameworks to further attract and better deploy capital.

The forum focused on innovative finance and how we could unlock capital to make it work for the transformation of the continent. Throughout the Forum, an emphasis was put on greater collaboration between the public and the private sector. Governments need to provide the proper regulatory framework to nudge investments into critical economic sectors. Pension fund reforms were cited as one way to drive greater investment into strategic industries and sectors.

Cristina Duarte, minister of finance of Cape Verde, who also announced her candidacy for the Presidency of the African Development Bank, made an impassioned speech calling for greater responsibility by governments to tackle illicit financial flows and not play the role of the victim: "The issue at its basic level is one of political will and institutions." she added.

Aid is no longer a panacea and remittances, FDI and tax revenues today significantly exceed overseas development assistance. However, if there is going to be an effective social charter, governments will need to gain the trust of their citizens and show that they are working effectively for the greater good of their people. Tax revenues, even if they have increased in the past decade as a percentage of GDP, still remain low by all international comparisons.

The need for greater regional integration was also re-emphasised. Africa needs to look at itself and not solely focus on consolidating and strengthening partnerships with partners in the North and the South.

When presenting the consensus, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa urged the stakeholders to feed the recommendations from the Forum into relevant national, regional and international policy frameworks.



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