The UNCTAD report was presented as a starting point for a discussion organized in Kigali by the Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
DAKAR, Senegal, August 5, 2016 – In Eastern Africa, debt stocks have risen rapidly over the past five years, but debt ratios appear to remain manageable, according to the UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa 2016 Report on “Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa” which was released in July in Nairobi during UNCTAD 14.
The UNCTAD report was presented as a starting point for a discussion organized in Kigali by the Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), with Leonard Rugwabiza, the Chief Economist at the Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, acting as the discussant.
Andrew Mold, a senior economist from ECA, recalled that it is estimated that an additional 600 billion USD is needed in Africa every year until 2030 in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress towards achieving such ambitious levels of additional finance can only be achieved by relying more on domestic resource mobilization, he argued, particularly since the prospects for ODA are not especially encouraging.
To underpin this point, preliminary econometric research conducted by ECA and presented by Andrew Mold suggests that growth performance in Eastern Africa over the last three decades has been stronger when supported by higher domestic savings, rather than being financed from external sources (such as FDI, debt, or ODA).
Between 2011 and 2014, the annual growth rate of external debt in Eastern Africa has been higher (13.3%) than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa (9%), However, as a percentage of GNI, debt levels are still sustainable, with only two countries in the region (Burundi and Djibouti) currently being deemed at high risk of debt default, according to a recent evaluation of the joint World Bank–International Monetary Fund Debt Sustainability Framework.
In order to increase domestic resource mobilisation, Eastern African countries will also want to stem more effectively illicit financial flows, which currently account for a loss of around -6% of GDP in Africa, according to UNCTAD estimates.
Similarly, remittances and diaspora savings could be leveraged more to provide financial resources in the region, especially in Kenya and Uganda.
The ClimDev Africa Special Fund (CDSF) launched its first project in Ethiopia on August 3 to help the country cope with, and build resilience to, climate change by enhancing capacity in climate monitoring, data analysis, interpretation, forecasting and dissemination for use in national decision-making.
The project entitled “Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems for Climate Resilient Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in Ethiopia – (SCI-EWS)” will be implemented over a span of three years at a total cost of EUR 1 million.
Speaking at the launch, Ato Alemayehu Tegenu, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, noted that, “Enhancing the capacity of the country’s National Meteorology Agency by promoting strategies that effectively manage risks; reduce vulnerability; and maximize opportunities associated with climate variability, change and extreme weather events for different socioeconomic sectors, is central to our commitment to build a fully climate resilient green economy by 2025.” Improved service delivery and cost recovery systems as a result of the project, are expected to generate additional income for the Government to ensure the future sustainability of the system together with the National Meteorological Agency.
Justus Kabyemera, AfDB ClimDev-Africa Special Fund Coordinator further stated, “This project exemplifies the importance of the ClimDev-Africa Special Fund to help mitigate the challenges associated with gathering and relaying important climate-related information on the continent – a critical step to help countries deal with climate change-related risk. In countries such as Ethiopia, in which climate change is not only recognized as a real threat, but as an opportunity as well, working towards sustainable adaptation and mitigation will help it achieve rapid economic development by promoting safe agricultural investments and boosting industrial growth.”
In addition to Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy and staff, the launch was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB), ClimDev-Africa, and non-governmental organizations.
Following the launch, relevant National Meteorological Agency staff attended a three-day workshop on AfDB project implementation rules and procedures, such as procurement and monitoring and evaluation.
Ethiopia is the first country to benefit from the Fund.
Launched in November 2014, the ClimDev Africa Special Fund (CDSF) is the funding arm of ClimDev Africa, a joint programme between the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. Housed at the AfDB, it is a demand-led fund that pools resources to finance investment activities on the ground across Africa for the generation and use of climate information for climate-resilient development. Grants are provided to projects in line with the ClimDev-Africa Programme’s goal, purpose and results areas and are implemented by national and regional organizations at all levels on the continent.