Strengthening local currency financing and capital market development in Africa

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) kicked off a pivotal workshop focused on local currency financing and capital market development for central banks across the African continent.

In the opening remarks, a senior UNECA official welcomed the distinguished guests and esteemed colleagues, emphasizing the critical role that strengthening financial architecture plays in driving economic and social development in Africa. “We gather here today not just as individuals from diverse backgrounds and expertise, but as a collective force united by a common goal: to strengthen and advance the financial architecture of our continent,” the UNECA representative stated.

UNECA, one of the five regional commissions under the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), has been a key player in providing technical assistance, policy advice, and capacity-building efforts to its 54 member states. The organization is committed to creating a conducive environment for capital markets to thrive, which is essential for attracting investment and promoting sustainable economic growth.

The significance of local currency financing was underscored, as it enables the mobilization of domestic resources, mitigates currency risk, and fosters a stable environment for investment. Participants will delve into the challenges and opportunities associated with the development of robust capital markets in Africa over the course of the multi-day workshop. “By prioritizing this form of financing, we are taking a proactive step towards insulating our economies from external shocks and creating a more resilient financial ecosystem,” the UNECA official noted.

The development of capital markets was also emphasized as paramount in the quest for economic transformation, serving as a conduit for channeling savings into productive investments and facilitating the efficient allocation of capital.

“Together, we can build a financial landscape that not only meets the needs of the present but also secures the prosperity of future generations,” the UNECA representative concluded, expressing optimism for the fruitful exchanges and insights that will emerge from this timely event.

Strengthening Financial Systems for Sustainable Development in Africa

Experts and stakeholders from across Africa gathered for a workshop on Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa. The two-day event aims to strategize on mobilizing and utilizing financial resources to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Africa.

First introduced in the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda, INFFs are designed to strengthen public and private financing for sustainable development. They align financing policies with national development plans, fostering collaboration between public and private sectors. Africa is at the forefront of this initiative, with over 40 governments embracing the approach.

In her opening remarks, Zuzana Schwidsowski, Director of the Macroeconomics and Governance Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), called for immediate action. “We are entering an era of poly-crises, characterized by multiple shocks, including pandemics, climate change, and economic and financial stresses,” she said. “The need to raise financial resources to accelerate SDG implementation is more urgent now, given that we are less than seven years from attaining Agenda 2030.”

Schwidsowski highlighted the severe financing gap, estimated to range from $200 billion to $1.3 trillion annually, as detailed in the ECA’s Economic Report on Africa 2020. She stressed the importance of domestic resource mobilization and the role of INFFs in integrating national plans with available resources.

The workshop aims to strengthen the capacities of officials and stakeholders to develop effective financing strategies, promote knowledge-sharing, and generate regional dialogue on public finance trends and issues affecting INFF implementation. Serving as a crucial platform for sharing experiences and planning future actions, the insights gained will be essential for the Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in Spain in 2025.

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