Securing Sustainable Solutions to the African Debt Crises

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Thematic Focus Area 3: International Public Finance

 

Strategic Objective 3: To build capacity to understand the implications and develop frameworks of Publicly Supported Private Finance and Public Private Partnerships that contributes to sustainable development

 

Achieving development goals will require the mobilization of resources from private sources. Publicly Supported Private Finance (PSPF) investments are reportedly combining Official Development Assistance (ODA) with commercial loans to make them concessional.  It is undeniable that private finance and business activities are playing a prominent role in development but little is known about their impact on sustainable development. AFRODAD seeks to develop an understanding of the PSPF in order to develop a framework that influences the outcomes of the mechanism and mobilise African civil society organisations and policy makers to engage and understand the impact of this approach. Given the crucial role, there is therefore need for greater accountability and impact assessments because without adequate regulation, private finance can lead to increased inequality, adverse impact on the environment and violation of human rights especially for the vulnerable and poor populations such as women, youths, and children among others. AFRODAD shall undertake research  to assess to what extent  private institutions will develop safeguards systems and open dialogue with stakeholders on the basis of established international standards and encourage them to establish and maintain social and environmental safeguards , including on human rights, gender and women’s empowerment that are transparent, effective, efficient and time –sensitive. AFRODAD will also collaborate with likeminded organizations in the West to develop a better network to influence publicly supported private financing.

 

Gender equality and its importance for access to good quality infrastructure are firmly on the international policy agenda as testified by the range of guidance documents that have emerged in the last decade. At a policy level, gender mainstreaming is regarded as a priority and there is demonstrable commitment to promoting gender equality and taking action to address it through infrastructure development.

At a policy level, it is also recognized that infrastructure development needs to be gender aware in order to realize gender benefits. Women’s interests need to be understood and their views taken on board through active involvement and consultation. Infrastructure projects cannot be assumed to deliver benefits to women and men equally; proceeding with project development with this assumption is likely to lead to the aggravation rather than reduction of gender inequalities.

 

 

 

Thematic Focus Area 3: International Public Finance

 

Strategic Objective 1: Development Effectiveness: To influence African governments and development partners to implement development effectiveness principles and practices.

 

The development landscape has shifted remarkably ever since the MDGs were agreed in 2000. The landscape has seen the shift from a framework in which ODA is seen the solely agreed methodology to fund development to a framework in which multiple providers of finance have emerged. However ODA will continue to be a viable source of development cooperation. 

 

The quality, impact and effectiveness of development cooperation including adherence to agreed develop­ment cooperation effectiveness principles of transparency and shared responsibility, partnerships for development, focus on results and ownership of development priorities by developing counties, has improved. The post-2015 development framework will thus require adequate finance and the success of sustainable development goals will require good polices and credible institutions to increase the impact of resources allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment, taking advantage of additional finances both from domestic and foreign investments from both public and private sources. There is growing consensus that development finance should follow the principles set out in the Busan Partnership agreement, The Addis Ababa Agenda for Action and the United Nations Sustainable development goals framework and all these should have strong linkages with the Beijing Platform.

 

The post 2015 agenda will require international public finance to catalyse country level development and AFRODAD will work towards ensuring that the development effectiveness principles are implemented and adhered to by both donors and developing countries. 

 

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Thematic Focus Area 2: Debt Management

Strategic Objective 3: To strengthen inclusive, transparent and accountable public debt borrowing and loan contraction processes.

From the previous researches done by AFRODAD, it was discovered that in many African countries, loan contraction and debt management is the sole responsibility of the Minister/Ministry of Finance without any clear indication of the need for Parliament approval to be sought before any loan is acquired. In the cases where the legal frameworks are clear on the need for parliament approval to be sought first, there is a common concern by the parliamentarians on the late submissions of the respective loan documents resulting in them having insufficient time to thoroughly review the documentation. In some instances there is insufficient background documentation and sometimes key information will be missing which limit the Legislature’s critical analysis of the submitted documents.  In this view, the case of rubber stamping of loan documents is still prevalent. There is also further concern on the lack of effective monitoring and evaluation on the performance of loan funded projects, largely characterized by slow implementation and lack of project reporting by the implementing agencies.  Lack of reference to the civil society’s role in the over-arching legal and institutional frameworks and guidelines for debt management is also common in most countries’ frameworks.

In light of this AFRODAD continues to work on loan contraction processes and to monitor how they are procured by government. It analyses the legal and institutional framework involved in the loan contraction process and the role of different stakeholders at a national level and which should be seen to be transparent, accountable, participatory and inclusive.

Despite this progress, there is currently still no scrutiny of the likely gender consequences of all the proposed prior actions. When external funds are needed quickly to fill a financing gap, borrowing countries may sign the loans agreeing to these prior conditions. Moreover, they may also implement them in order not to delay the disbursement of a loan, which could result in an additional financial cost in terms of having to pay commitment fees on unutilised loans. The consequences of agreeing to and implementing prior conditions without considering their gender implications can be detrimental for gender equality.

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