The AfSol Journal is Coming Your Way!

Dear AfSol Family and Bloggers,

The much anticipated Journal on African Centered Solutions by The Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) is coming your way. Wish to contribute? Please follow this link for more information.

http://www.ipss-addis.org/new-ipss/news-events/ipss_launches_flagship_journal_on_african-centered_solutions_/

The AfSol Blog Team

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July 31rst 2015: African Woman Day

In 1962, following the first Pan-African Women’s Conference in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, The African Union declared today, July 31rst the African Women Day. As you enjoy your day, the AfSol Blog Team wishes a happy African Women Day with a poem extract from Chants D’ombre(1945) by the renowned Senegalese writer and poet as well as former president Senegal, Leopold Sedar Senghor. Don’t forget that “Behind Every single sucess in Africa, is the story of An African Women”Strive Massiya.Happy African Women Day, Celebrate the African Woman!

African Women 2

BLACK WOMAN

Naked woman, black woman

Dressed in your color that is life, in your form that is beauty!

I grew up in your shadow. The softness of your hands

Shielded my eyes, and now at the height of Summer and Noon,

From the crest of a charred hilltop I discover you, Promised Land

And your beauty strikes my heart like an eagle’s lightning flash.

Leopold Sedar Senghor, 1945, Chant D’ombre

The Third International Conference on Finance for Development (FFD3): A Lack of Delivery from the Developed World?

*By Alem Asmelash

From 13-16 July 2015, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Its objective was to: assess the progress made in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus (2003) and the Doha Declaration (2008); address new and emerging issue to promote international development cooperation as well as reinvigorate and strengthen the financing for development follow-up process.

The Addis Ababa conference also hosted a number of side conferences dealing with issues ranging from the role of banks and women in sustaining development as well the future of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). By the end of the conference the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) was adopted. The agreement reached is thought to provide for a framework that can finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) amounting close to $3 trillion per year.  The meeting had mainly focused on global tax reforms, the universal right to free basic services and welfare, and support for the poorest but has shown lack of commitment from the developed world and was unable to specify concrete deliverables.

Towards a Changed Global Tax System

During the Conference, developing countries had pushed for the inclusion of much tighter provisions in the AAAA that can assert more authoritative stipulation towards the creation of an Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters as well as increasing the provision of resources. For developing countries the creation of an intergovernmental tax body under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) embodies both a step forward in systemic issues as well as a concrete mechanism within the UN that can contribute to ensuring coherence of the international financial system for the post 2015 Development Agenda. The very countries most affected by illicit financial flows as well as tax evasion by large corporations should have an equal participation in the agenda-setting and decision-making on global tax rules and policy reforms.  Such a universal body, developing countries have stated from the beginning of the FFD3 negotiations, can only exist within the UN.

However developed countries had rejected these proposals from the outset and so the AAAA has failed to grant the wishes of developing nations towards the creation of a democratized tax governance system under the auspices of the UN. It should be noted that developing nations in Africa lose close to 100 to 210 billion US dollars from Multinational Corporations (MNCs) tax-avoidances. This is likely to affect developing countries’ ability in realizing the post 2015 development goals. This becomes glaringly evident when we note that in many low-income countries, tax is less than 15 percent of GDP, against at least 24 percent in advanced economies. However, on a positive note, governments in Addis have agreed to strengthen institutional capacities of tax administration especially in the developing world. This will prove handy in bolstering the capacity of national tax authorities to collect as much taxes as rightfully possible. However with the increasing flow of FDI, it was essential for the world to adopt a fairer and more inclusive global tax system which the Addis conference failed to reach an agreement upon. Wu Hongbo, the UN under Secretary-General for Economic & Social Affairs noted that it will be a “gradual process”.

Consensus over ‘Social Compact’

Perhaps the most important success of the AAAA is its affirmed stance on portraying a global consensus on the right to basic social services such as free access for all by 2030 to healthcare, quality education along with the reduction of inequality and eradication of poverty . The commitments would mean that governments would now be forced to work for the provision of public services which will ultimately contribute to the attainment of the post-2015 Development Agenda as most of the aspired rights underpin the 17 SDGs.

Therefore provisions for finance become an important issue. It is evident that developing countries by themselves cannot provide finance that can support the attainment of the aspired rights, thus Official Development Assistance (ODA) becomes a vital finance resort that the developing world can look for. However most developed countries have failed to provide the agreed 0.7percent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries. However, the European Union (EU) has reaffirmed its commitments towards providing the specified ODA.

While recommitting to the ODA commitments was a step in the right direction, the lack in clear time frames and actionable commitments makes the attaining of the post 2015 Agenda precarious.

On Women Rights

The AAAA has reaffirmed the importance of including women in all development endeavors. But critics have held that the document fails to focus on the obstacles that women face in attaining their economic rights and control over resources. It is argued that the Addis conference did not provide any concrete measures towards women rights rather reiterated the already existing commitments. It rather seems to focus on channeling the contribution of women towards growth without solving the structural problems they face.

What’s the upshot of all this?

Keeping the commitments that governments have entered into, it is important for African governments to devise national policies that can attract both public and private funding. Whereas the Addis Ababa conference provided for a platform for countries to create a framework to finance the SDGs, it however lacks in stipulating concrete and actionable points. Perhaps the UN assembly in New York in September might be able to do that, however developing countries need to provide detailed policies that can attain the SDGs and solicit finance based on the framework created by the AAAA. Moreover for African countries governments, parallel to their commitments to the SDGs, they also have to align their policies to continental commitments such as those under the Agenda 2063.

For instance African countries now also have to be able to look towards other means of finance. It is seen that the developing world falls short in delivering its commitment towards ODA and African economies also have the commitment under Agenda 2063 to decrease reliance on aid by 50%. This needs to push African countries to strengthen their internal tax administration, decrease corruption and upgrade transparency in their governance system. It is also important to note that since 2010 remittance to the Africa now has outgrown both ODA and FDI flows to the continent. This perhaps is an instance that can show that there is alternative to the traditional finance sources that governments usually pursue.

Alem Asmelash (alem.a@ipss-addis.org ) is a Communication Assistant at the Africa Peace and Security Programme (APSP), a joint programme of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) and the African Union. All views expressed in the AfSol blog are solely the views of the authors and do not in any represent the views of the IPSS or APSP. For more information on AfSol Blog, please contact research@ipss-addis.org

For People and the Planet: The Third International Conference on Financing for Development

By Elshaddai Mesfin*

For People and the Planet”! This is the motto of The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) that will take place in Addis Ababa Ethiopia for the next four days. World leaders, heads of the world most important financial institutions, civil societies, investment agencies and concerned stakeholders under the scrutiny of the media will sit down, discuss and hopefully take action on securing a future for the current and upcoming generations on Planet Earth. As Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon highlighted in his message Addis Ababa is hoped to be “the starting point for a new era of a global partnership”.

The rising number of the world population as well as the severity of global warming is being felt everywhere in the world. The world’s population has surpassed 7 billion people and is bound to rise in the next three decades with Africa being home to close to 1billion of the world’s youth. This is the population that needs access not only to basic needs but also education and most importantly to the job (market which is exactly why there is a global need for sustainable development). The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have more or less been achieved by most African states who have translated their rising annual GDP growth into investment in public health and education: in other words Africa has managed to satisfactorily provide basic services to its population. But durability and sustainability are needed to keep guaranteeing access of the fruits of the recorded development for the rising African population.

Green solutions are also required especially for the African Continent. Africa accounts for less than 7% of total carbon emissions, but is and will be the most affected by the rising level of global warming. As a continent still very much dependent on agriculture, by 2020, it is projected that in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50% compromising the food security of the continent. An increase of 5 to 8% of arid and semi-arid lands is expected in the continent, adding to the frequency of the droughts in the Sahel region as well as the Horn of Africa. Such predictions are quite costly as the African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that the costs of adaptation of the continent to such a harsher climate will cost annually US$ 20-30 over the next two decades.

This does not mean that for Africa and the rest of the developing world, the FFD3 should be a platform of plea for aid money, rather a platform for plea of a global partnership for a strategic and sustainable financing for a durable global development. This means that Addis Ababa should be the forum for the call and consolidation of a partnership of world states which consider each other on an equal footing and understand that all 193 states of the world have each an equal leverage on the planet Earth.

Follow the debate and the outcomes of the Conference at http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/

Elshaddai Mesfin Haileyesus (elshaddai.m@ipss-addis.org ) is a research intern in the Research, Policy Analysis and Dialogue (RAPD) Department the Africa Peace and Security Programme (APSP), a joint programme of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) and the African Union (AU). All views expressed in the AfSol blog are solely the views of the authors and do not in any represent the views of the IPSS or APSP. For more information on AfSol Blog, please contact research@ipss-addis.org