By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo
The third edition of the African Conference on Debt and Development, AfCoDD III, has been scheduled to take place from August 30 to September 1, 2023 in Dakar, Senegal.
The conference organised by the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, AFRODAD and partners will among other things, examine the 4rs For Africa Rule-Maker which are Reimagining, Rethinking, Reorganising, and Remobilising for An African World Order.
The conference will be seeking to address meaningful debt solutions given that the financial squeeze African governments find themselves in has been worsened by the prolonged effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The pressures of debt repayment amidst declining revenues are forcing African governments to trade off protecting citizens from the vagaries of the pandemic in favour of paying off creditors.
Besides, the conference will also aim at calling for reforms of the global financial architecture that governs public debt given that the principles and mechanisms that protect debtor countries from profiteering creditors need to be revisited based on suspension, renegotiation, restructuring and cancellation.
In addition, the call for the sealing of financial leakages whereby the African Union needs to focus on closing the financial leakages including addressing illicit financial flows, and supporting initiatives that spur domestic resource mobilisation to fight the pandemic.
According to the organisers, Africa’s debt burden is directly becoming a burden on Africans who are having to the pay the price both irresponsible borrowing and equal irresponsible lending. Yet, despite debt burden, institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continues to provide loans under the guise of “highly concessional” loans to African governments.
Against this backdrop, they have also launched a gender strategy, yet the same violent economic impacts on the continent and women continue. Africa is caught in a debt trap that extends beyond contraction in fiscal policy space.
Africa is trapped in a low productive capacity trap that is entrenched by the neo-liberal economic order that blocks any attempt for Africa to produce and transform its economies in manufacturing and industrial hubs for global production.
Experts believe that it is time for African countries to take its destiny into its own hands by considering against all odds, what aligns financial flows in ways that promote inclusive development and sustainable structural transformation of the continent without worsening its vulnerabilities. One that is steeped in the ideals of the first liberation Pan-African movement. It is time for Africa the Rule Maker not Rule Taker!
In the Reimagine, the conference will seek to answer the question, “What if we as Africans reimagined our own concept of billions to trillions that is not locked within a neo-liberal, neo-colonial framework that invests billions but extracts trillions from Africa?” To Reimagine organisers, say, it implies to allow the mind to venture and explore areas and issues seldom touched on in the pursuit of economic, political, and social emancipation.
Organisers also noted that to Rethinking an African economic order requires a movement away from primary commodity production and exports. It demands an end to market based approaches to attracting investments.
And it requires a state-led approach which focuses on the inward advancement of the continent and its people. Rethinking our economic structure would be to appreciate that small-medium enterprises in Africa are considered the backbone of African economies.
To Reorganising implies taking control of one’s manifest destiny and exerting one’s sovereign right to self-determination. In a system that has for too long worked to erode and undermine this self-determination, there is a moment of real “Africa Rising” taking place.
As far as Remobilising is concern, Africans have to rely on a common and united front across all sides of our society and engagement internally on the continent, and externally towards the rest of the world. To remobilise, it is useful to recall there was an organised African society pre-colonial time.
Launched in August 2021, AfCoDD is one of three flagship programmes run by AFRODAD that seeks to bring together all African citizens to discuss, debate, and decide Africa’s path towards economic, political, and social self-determination.