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Thirty percent of Africa’s sovereign reserves should be invested locally – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has proposed that 30 per cent of Africa’s sovereign reserves held in foreign banks be invested in the continent’s financial institutions.

“We should decide that a minimum of 30 per cent of the reserves of each one of us, should, be invested in the multilateral institutions,” he said, citing the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Afreximbank.

Strengthening the capital base of those banks was a necessity to enhance their balance sheet and boost their capacity to facilitate more and more resources for the continent’s development and growth, he argued.

President Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing a Presidential Dialogue on the African Union’s (AU) Financial Institutions, on the sidelines of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the AU, in Ethiopia.

He pointed out that virtually all the countries held their reserves in foreign banks, which attracted largely negative rates of interest.

“The fundamental fact is that, if we find a way that we can increase the financial power of our own institutions, we are in a better place to finance our development,” he echoed.

On the relevance of investing in the continent’s financial institutions, he enumerated the critical role the AfDB and Afreximbank played in alleviating the plight of the people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are institutions which are ours, and which we can trust. So, if we can find a way of strengthening them, we strengthen ourselves,” he noted.

Additionally, President Nana Akufo-Addo appealed to African leaders to give a serious consideration to ratifying the decision that had been taken to make the Afreximbank a specialised agency of the AU.

The Presidential Dialogue, convened by Ghana’s President, had in attendance the leadership of the AU, African policy institutes and financial institutions, as well as development partners.

A champion of reforms of the global financial architecture, President Nana Akufo-Addo insisted there ought to be a mechanism for monitoring how monies being invested in the continent’s banks were used.

“This is critical for ensuring that we get proper accountability.”

The President tasked the leaders to work together to develop a robust global financial architecture that placed African development priorities at the centre of common efforts to deal with common burdens.

Reform of the global financial architecture should also prioritise stemming illicit financial flows from Africa.

In recent times, the African Union Heads of State and Government have accelerated moves for the establishment of an African Monetary Union by harmonising monetary zones and creating three AU financial institutions.

These encompass the African Central Bank (ACB), African Monetary Fund (AMF), African Investment Bank (AIB) and the creation of a Pan-African Stock Exchange (PASE).

The concept note underpinning the Presidential Dialogue hinges on the fact that the changing global economic landscape has underlined the need to expedite the establishment of the AU financial institutions and to revise the legal instruments establishing them.

As Africa seeks to accelerate the transformation journey to enable its countries and people to realise their full economic potential, the authorities say this requires a global financial system that adequately meets the people’s needs and harnesses the opportunities that the continent’s natural and human capital offer.

The 37th Ordinary Session of the AU will also see the launch of the Alliance of African Multilateral Financial Institutions – the Africa Club.

The Club aims to bring member institutions together to find solutions to financing challenges and help support Africa’s sustainable economic development and integration objectives.

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