People first, demand African CSOs at financing for development consultation

Addis Ababa, 24 March 2015 (ECA-AUC) - If African development and economic transformation are to succeed, international financial institutions (IFIs) and domestic policies must reform, stated African Civil Society Organisations at the Regional Consultation towards the Third International Conference of Financing for Development held in at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa on 24 March 2015.

African countries ought to find reliable sustainable sources of financing development where the focus is on people’s development first, stated CSOs during discussions on priorities and financing for development. The CSOs reiterated their commitment to standing together with governments on post-2015 goals where development is concerned. They, like governments, want to put people, especially the marginalised such as the poor, women and children, at the centre of the discourse on financing for development.

One of the suggestions for domestic sustainable financial sources is for Africa to focus on tax collection as a reliable way to finance development. Since governments can use tax to fight inequality, CSOs encourage them to expand their tax base to fund development projects.

Civil society representatives and other delegates from government, inter-governmental agencies, financial institutions, academia and think tanks, however underlined the thorny issue of illicit financial flows such as tax evasion as evidence for a need for transformation in the global financial industry as well. Africa loses substantial economic resources because of IFFs hence the CSOs identified the necessity for more accountability and transformation in the dealings with international financial institutions.

According to attendants, Africa should first tackle IFFs but leaving it at this level is not enough. Delegates recommended the removal of mechanisms that protect companies and institutions allowing them to amass large economic resources at the expense of African development and structural transformation.

The Consultation is part of the process of defining priorities for financing development; a process that will culminate with the September summit on Sustainable Development Goals. Global financial systems are at the core of the discussion since they affect numerous policies and implementation. Overseas Development Aid, sovereign debt issues, climate financing and tied aid are some of the matters of concern relating to strategies and policies on financing development. Delegates posit financing of development has to be aligned with the SDGs and unlike the Millennium Development Goals; it has to arrive in time to promote meeting them.

Jointly issued by the ECA and the AUC