Tag Archives: africa

Set up commission to undertake debt audit

6 Aug

Flag-map-of-ZimbabwePARLIAMENT should set up a commission to conduct an audit before debt relief mechanisms can be considered as part of a roadmap to resolve the country’s
$9,9 billion external debt, a social and economic justice coalition has recommended.

Last month, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa announced the setting-up of a Zimbabwe Debt Management Office (ZADMO) to maintain a comprehensive and credible computerised database of all public and publicly guaranteed external debt.

Chinamasa said the sweeping reforms would also see the Ministry of Finance as the final signatory in all loan contractions by parastatals and local authorities.

In an analysis of the reforms to curtail loan contraction, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) said to find a lasting solution, national public debt audit would bring to the surface the “origins, structure and legitimacy, how much is owed to who, growth and impact of loans on social and economic development”.

“Zimcodd therefore calls for the Zimbabwe Parliament to immediately set up a Public Debt Commission to conduct an official audit before any debt relief mechanism can be considered,” it said.

“The commission should utilise the doctrine of odious debt, and recommend the repudiation of any previous loans which fall under this category.”

Zimcodd said the government should focus on domestic resource mobilisation and plugging “of illicit outflows through high levels of corruption, tax evasion and tax dodging in the extractive industry, particularly the mining sector”.

Zimbabwe’s huge debt has militated against the country’s capacity to attract lines of credit needed to reboot the economy.

The country has no capacity to repay the loans.

Zimcodd said it was concerned by Chinamasa’s proposals to promote the principle of vesting the power to borrow in a single authority as the move was unconstitutional since it violated section 298 (Principles of Public Accountability) and section 299 (Parliamentary Oversight of State Revenues and Expenditure) of the Constitution.

“The executive must ensure that Parliament must at every opportunity be afforded space to exercise its oversight role in all State revenues and expenditure as stated in section 299 of the Constitution,” it said.

It said the composition of the proposed External Loans and Domestic Debt Management Committee (ELDDC) was not adequate as it marginalises the public by only including the central bank governor, Treasury permanent secretary and the Attorney-General.

Zimcodd said Parliament, through portfolio committees, and civil society organisations that are working on debt and economic justice should be included in ELDDC.

SOURCE: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2014/08/06/set-commission-undertake-debt-audit/

Malawi poll stand-off loss counted at K18 billion

3 Jun

ImageA regional and economic think tank has estimated that Malawi lost approximately K18 billion due to a slowdown in economic activity just in the first week of the political impasse when the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) could not announce results of the elections.

The Harare, Zimbabwe-based African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) says it has done rough research on the economic impact of the delayed release of the results in Malawi which shows that Malawi has lost a lot economically in the days of the  uncertainty.

Afrodad executive director Collins Magalasi told The Daily Times in an interview in Maputo, Mozambique on Friday that the research showed that the country incurred heavy economic lossesThrough suspended exports, slowed down production by some companies and reduced informal trade. He was speaking on the sidelines of Africa Rising conference organised jointly by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Mozambican government. “We learned at the border posts that traffic of both imports and exports had slowed down,” said Magalasi.

He said his institution is now monitoring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into the country to establish whether the negative publicity of the election could lead into fewer inquiries about Malawi by investors. He said his institution will prepare a report on the trend of FDI prior, during and after elections, to give a proper picture of how international investors behave in reaction to domestic issues, especially on elections.

Source: http://timesmediamw.com/malawi-poll-stand-off-loss-counted-at-k18-billion/

Optimism and worry as Seychelles readies for WTO

24 Nov

Flag-map_of_the_Seychelles.jpgThe Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles is pinning its hopes of economic recovery on its expected membership of the World Trade Organisation, but the impending move is also causing jitters for local businesses.

After 18 years of negotiations, the tourist destination — famed for its white sandy beaches and luxury hotels — is set to join the global trade body by the end of April 2014, said Cillia Mangroo, head of the finance ministry’s trade division.

For the authorities of the island nation, membership equals commercial security.

“Being a member of the WTO, for a small country like Seychelles, provides the opportunity to have a body that can defend their rights in case of a trade dispute with another country,” said Charles Morin, the islands’ chief negotiator.

Aside from pulling in tourists and honeymooners, the main export is canned tuna to the European Union. The EU is also the country’s main trading partner, taking 61 percent of exports and the source of 30 percent of imports.

The Seychelles also exports copra — coconut kernels that are ground down to extract oil — and furniture to Asia and Africa.

Ahead of joining the 159 member bloc, officials in Victoria has been busy signing bilateral agreements with Canada, Mauritius, Oman, Switzerland, and, more recently, the EU and Thailand. According to the WTO, the country has been particularly committed to cutting export subsidies to zero.

Worries for local businesses
But not everyone in the small nation of just 90,000 inhabitants is convinced of the benefits of casting off trade barriers.

“Architects, engineers and lawyers are worried about the opening up of the market, because once the Seychelles becomes a member of the WTO, any business can come and invest in the country,” said Marco Francis, president of the country’s chamber of commerce. There are fears too for the country’s poultry and pig farmers, already badly struggling since the authorities began to open the market, including allowing meat imports from Brazil.

“I fear that the country’s entry into the WTO will result in the end of such farming… and that could put the country’s food security at risk,” Francis added. He said many livestock breeders have also closed shop because the Seychelles does not have the means to make “mass rearing such as Brazil and China.”

Francis hopes that a list of “protected” products will be reserved for key Seychelles companies, arguing Victoria should retain a monopoly on traditional fishing.

But the government will not budge, arguing that WTO accession is key to putting the economy back on track after skirting close to bankruptcy during the peak of the financial crisis.

Becoming a member “will help us attract the right direct investment,” Mangroo added.

In a statement issued at the conclusion of bilateral negotiations in late October, the European Commission said it believed accession “would be the last step on the process of economic reform and development of the Seychelles”.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ends in December its five-year programme of assistance to Seychelles, an austerity plan that has resulted in a major restructuring of the debt, privatisation and slashing the government staff.

At the end of 2008, the Seychelles faced a balance of payments crisis and liquidity problems. Its public debt reached 130 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), inflation stood at 37 percent and GDP grew by just 0.1 percent.

The following year, prices soared by over a third while GDP tumbled by 9.6 percent.

For 2013, the IMF now expects the Seychelles to post growth of 3.3 percent and inflation of 4.9 percent.

Victoria should also have cut public debt to 70 percent of GDP, and hopes to see this ratio fall to 50 percent by 2018.

SOURCE:
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131123/optimism-and-worry-seychelles-readies-wto

Tanzania praised for better use of aid, scores low on graft war

20 Nov

Tanzania_flag_mapTanzania Development Partners have said despite positive signs in 2012/13 general budget support there has been stagnation in the fight against corruption in key sectors like health, energy and port operations.

Speaking during General Budget Support (GBS) Annual Review in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Chair of Group in Tanzania – who is also the Swedish Ambassador to the country – Lennarth Hjelmaker said corruption is still a problem in the country.

“The Assessment shows that a more active fight against corruption is needed.

After positive signs in 2012-13, there has been stagnation in the fight against corruption, including a lack of movement on specific anti-corruption cases in key sectors…It seems that there is still an underuse of administrative sanctions for petty corruption offense,” he said.

According to Hjelmaker, DPs have also expressed concern over certain human rights issues or more generally accountability when implementing government commitments related to the right to information and to protect and promote freedom of the media.

He cited areas where reforms are moving at a snail’s pace as including education where both primaryand secondary school pass rates have been dropping and pupil-teacher ratios have not improved as planned.

The DPs said however that an independent evaluation of GBS in Tanzania has confirmed that the aid modality does deliver tangible results and allows the government to spend more on development sectors such as in education, health, water and infrastructure.

According to DPs, Tanzania has done well in decentralisation of management of natural resources, improved budget transparency and procurement, with the number of districts with three or more nurses and midwives per 10,000 inhabitants – exceeding the targets.

However the country has underperformed on water where more than half of the households in rural areas are still lacking access to safe and clean water.

Hjelmaker said as a consequence the 2014 commitments and disbursements from DPs will be affected, as the performance tranches cannot be realised in full.

He said it is a good move that “Tanzania is raising more internal revenues and that dependence on donor funding in slowly decreasing,” adding however that the DPs would continue to support the country in GBS and different areas.

Last year DPs largely fulfilled obligations in line with their current agreements for 2012/13. A total of USD 584 million was disbursed against the USD 495 million committed. Two thirds were disbursed within the first quarter. Two out of the 15 disbursements were delayed.

For her part, Finance deputy minister, Saada Mkuya, expressed satisfaction with the country’s performance, saying the government was taking measures to ensure that such challenges are addressed.

The deputy minister said over past eight years budget support has influenced growth and improved outcomes in the education sector and in reducing non-income poverty.

SOURCE: http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=61698

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Zimbabwe should…

30 Oct

Zimbabwe should engage China, with about US$36 billion for investment in special economic zones, to attracting foreign investment to resuscitate critical sectors of the economy-Comesa secretary-general Dr Sindiso Ngwenya

Should African countries look for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or mobilise local resources?

Send your comments to: info@afrodad.co.zw

Look East for FDI, Comesa boss tells Zimbabwe

30 Oct

Zimbabwe should engage China, with about US$36 billion for investment in special economic zones, to attracting foreign investment to resuscitate critical sectors of the economy, a senior Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa official said.
Presenting a paper on value chains and their roles in economic development at this year’s edition of the Zimtrade Exporters Conference in Harare last week, Comesa secretary-general Dr Sindiso Ngwenya said this country could court successful economies such as China for investment.

The first step would be the consolidation of special economic zones, which are areas designed to export goods and provide employment while they are exempted from certain taxes and quota laws meant to make goods manufactured in those zones fetch competitive global prices.
“In China, Shenzhen is a success story of a special economic zone which was established in the 80s and by 1994 the city was accounting for 35 percent of total Chinese exports, Zimbabwe should therefore go the SEZ route in order to revive critical sectors.
“Zimbabwe, therefore, needs to engage China to get that investment which can be channelled towards establishment and rehabilitation of power plants and revival of the manufacturing sector,” he said.

Mr Ngwenya said value addition was an effective strategy that would help Zimbabwe capture its fair share of the global market.
“Even the country’s vast minerals are not fetching enough revenue on the global market because they are exported in their raw state,” he added.

Mr Ngwenya added that in order to realise meaningful economic development there is also need to issue Diaspora bonds so that locals living abroad can participate in rebuilding the economy.

Funds mobilised can then be channelled towards infrastructural rehabilitation such as road dualisation among other critical infrastructural needs.

Retrieved from: http://www.herald.co.zw/look-east-for-fdi-comesa-boss-tells-zimbabwe/

Zim in Busan implementation hitch

24 Oct

ZIMBABWE, a highly aid dependent country has made little steps in implementing measures meant to bail it out of donor dependency, a move likely to shut it out of developmental support from the international community.Zimbabwe was among developing countries that signed a treaty in South Korea in 2011 committing it to implement a raft of measures under a so-called Busan agreement that called for developed countries and donors to start channeling developmental funding to signatory States and move away from humanitarian funding.

Reports submitted at a regional multi-stakeholder forum for East and Southern Africa on development effectiveness last week indicate that Zimbabwe is one of few countries that have failed to implement the Busan agreement.

Collin Magalasi, an executive director with AFRODAD, said Zimbabwe’s situation was different from that of other countries when it signed to Busan. “Busan took place when Zimbabwe had no donors, which was very different from other countries,” Magalasi said on the sidelines of the forum. “I think they are trying to put some systems in place but they are too far away. The fact that Zimbabwe does not have many donors as yet should not be an excuse for them not to put systems in place. They better put their house in order because donors will follow the systems,” said Magalasi.
A director responsible for Domestic and International finance in the Ministry of Finance, Margireta Makuwaza, told the delegates that Zimbabwe was not fully funded and that has contributed to delays in the implementation of the Busan principles.

She however underlined the need for government to review the Aid Coordination Architecture (ACA) policy document administered by the finance ministry to improve its implementation with the aim of aligning the policy document with the new constitution.
ACA was crafted in 2009 under the Government of National Unity (GNU) and its principles are premised on the aid Declarations signed in Paris (2005) Accra (2008) and Busan (2011) with a view of ultimately reducing Zimbabwe’s dependency on donors.

It contains guidelines, principles, structures and objectives for coherent interactions between government and the co-operating partners.
“We are not moving at the desired pace in term of implementing the Busan principles but it is essential to bring in the necessary changes to the ACA policy to align it with the new constitution,” Makuwaza said.
The three day regional consultation forum held in Rustenburg, South Africa from 16-18 October 2013, under the auspices of African Union Commission in collaboration with NEPAD Agency, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), United Nations Development Programme and the department of National Treasury of the Republic of South Africa, brought together more than 80 participants, mainly government officials, parliamentarians, civil society organisations and journalists from 17 countries.

The forum was held under the theme: “Leveraging Global Partnership to optimize Africa’s Resources – from Busan to Reality”.
The Busan principles aim at reframing the global aid reform agenda from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness which should result in poverty eradication, reducing inequality, sustainable development and enhanced capacities for developing countries.

It also promises engagement with business towards improved regulatory and policy environments for private investment, and business participation in the design and implementation of development policies.
It also calls for openness, trust, mutual accountability and transparent practices as the basis for accountability.

The 2011 forum on aid effectiveness held in the South Korean coast city, Busan, and attended by over 2500 State and non state delegates from developed and developing countries, including more than 300 civil society representatives, holds all the parties to account with an annual monitoring exercise for the aid industry. It put in place systems for countries to focus on the quality of development assistance given by donors.
Under the Busan principles, States are expected to develop a monitoring framework consisting of 10 indicators that measure progress in improving the effectiveness of development cooperation in areas such as the transparency and predictability of aid, gender equality, participation of civic society and the contribution of the private sector.

Busan, which produced an agenda for aid reform was built on the previous aid effectiveness commitments made in Rome (2003), Paris (2005) and Accra (2008) on the principles on aid ownership, inclusive development, transparency, results and accountability.

Busan also brought on board new players in the aid landscape such as China, Brazil and India. These countries agreed, on a voluntary basis to abide by Busan principles.
But two years on, the global partnership which sounds very grand is at risk of fading away in Zimbabwe because of lack of systems as agreed under Busan.

Source: http://www.financialgazette.co.zw/zim-in-busan-implementation-hitch/

Regional Consultation for East and Southern Africa on Development Effectiveness

16 Oct

Leveraging Global Partnership to Optimize Africa’s Resources – From Busan to Reality

media_advisoryThe African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), African Union Commission (AUC), NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Government of South Africa, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) member states, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are hosting an East and Southern Africa Regional Post-Busan Implementation Engagement workshop. The workshop is aimed at creating a platform to promote mutual learning and knowledge sharing on best practices and experiences in the implementation of a Global Partnership within the AU context. The workshop is taking place at Hunters Rest Mountain Resort, Rustenburg, South Africa from the 16th to 18th of October 2013.

The Regional Consultation under the auspices of the Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness (APDev) follows two similar engagements held in West and Central Africa. The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) at the 4th High Level Forum in Busan in 2011 represented the international community’s commitment towards a fundamental transformation of the aid architecture. This meeting has drawn experts from; Governments, CSOs, Parliaments, Regional Economic Bodies, Development Partners, the Private Sector among others.

You can follow the events on AFRODAD blog, Facebook, APDev, UNDP

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Munyaradzi T. Nkomo, Information and Communications, AFRODAD
Tel: +263 777 782 651 or + 2779 7269401
Email: munyaradzi@afrodad.co.zw

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IFC aid sub-Saharan African economy with $5.3b investments in 2013 fiscal year

18 Sep

IFCAccording to Ghanabusinessnews.com investment commitments by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) reached $5.3 billion in sub-Saharan Africa, with projects targeting key sectors in the region’s economy. In a detailed factsheet released early September 2013, the IFC’s activities in sub-Saharan Africa showed strong development impact through record volumes of investment and advisory services for the year ending June 2013.

In addition to its committed record of $5.3 billion new investments, the IFC also carried out advisory services projects worth $65 million in the region in its most recent fiscal year.

According to the IFC it supported infrastructure, health, agribusiness and a range of activities in conflict affected states and helped Africa’s entrepreneurs gain access to finance.

“IFC invested $3.5 billion from its own account, and mobilized $1.8 billion from other investors,” it said in a statement adding “in FY 2013, IFC’s supported projects that provided loans for 54,000 small and medium businesses, encouraged 13.7 million microfinance clients; and improved health and education for 360,000 people.”

Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa, said, “By focusing on developing Africa’s private sector in key areas such as power generation, transport or agribusiness, we are playing an active role in stimulating sustainable economic growth and job creation in the region.”

According to Duhem, the IFC also believes in boosting regional markets in Africa and many of its investments aim to allow companies to grow beyond national boundaries.

– See more at: http://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2013/09/14/ifc-aid-sub-saharan-african-economy-with-5-3b-investments-in-2013-fiscal-year/#sthash.kmJFss9X.dpuf