Financing remains crucial for Africa: Ramaphosa
CAPE TOWN, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- As Africa begins the task of reconstruction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, financing for development becomes all the more crucial, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.
The overarching principle of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is that no country will be left behind, and that those furthest behind receive full support, Ramaphosa said in an address to the virtual high-level meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the era of COVID-19.
"The pandemic has set back the SDG process, and we now require additional financial resources to enable developing economies to respond effectively not just to the pandemic but to recover and rebuild," said Ramaphosa, who is also chairperson of the African Union (AU).
The challenges facing developing economies have been compounded by weak public health systems, limited social safety nets, high levels of inequality, high debt burdens, reduced tax revenues, capital outflows and lack of adequate and sufficient access to financial markets, according to Ramaphosa.
"For Africa, financing remains crucial," he stressed.
As agreed by African Finance Ministers in March 2020, Africa needs immediate emergency financing to the tune of 100 billion U.S. dollars, which would provide fiscal space and liquidity to governments.
"Our view is that the Debt Service Suspension Initiative in its current form does not go far enough," Ramaphosa said.
South Africa supports extending the initiative and, in certain instances, considering the cancellation of debt, he said.
"We further welcome the focused attention that is being given to illicit financial flows, which pose a serious threat to the development trajectory and economic stability of many African countries," said Ramaphosa.
He urged developed economies not to renege on their commitments to support developing economies in the climate change adaptation and mitigation effort.
Means of implementation support must be dramatically scaled-up to countries in need to enable them to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement, Ramaphosa said.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has vastly reduced the fiscal space of countries to meet their commitments to support development, policy options going forward should not replace agreed multilateral outcomes as reflected in, among others, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, said Ramaphosa.
The agenda, adopted at the 2015 International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a global framework that seeks to align financing flows and policies with economic, social, and environmental priorities.
"It is our hope that this platform will be used to accelerate the financing of the SDGs by the international community while recognising the different levels of development of countries," Ramaphosa said.
Working together, it is within the means of African countries to eradicate poverty and inequality, achieve greater economic and social justice and conserve their natural world for future generations, said Ramaphosa. Enditem