52nd Conference of African Finance Ministers closes

From 20th to 26th March the Kingdom of Morocco held the fifty-second Conference of African Ministers for Finance, Planning and Economic Development from the Economic Commission for Africa, in Marrakesh.

Equatorial Guinea took part in the conference through a delegation led by the Ambassador of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and representative of the Permanent Mission before the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Crisantos Obama Ondo, representing the Equatorial Guinea Minister for Finance, the Economy and Planning, Lucas Abaga Nchama, assisted by the Director general for Planning and Programming of Public Investment from the Ministry for Finance, the Economy and Planning, Victor Sima Asong.

At the opening ceremony they heard speeches from the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe; the Vice-President of the United nations Economic and Social Council, Omar Hilali and Amina Mohammed, Vice-secretary General of the United nations Organisation, among others, together with the official opening speech from the Moroccan Minister for the Economy and Finance, Mohamed Benchaaboun.

The conference is being celebrated this year under the banner: Budget policy, trade and the private sector in the digital age, a strategy for Africa; and is focussed on the search for mechanisms to maximise the mobilisation of national resources and the development of competitiveness, using the strength of digital technologies.

The conference recognised that African countries must revive their fiscal policies, in order to align with the economic order and respond needs with regards to investment and growth. The forum also paid special attention to the consideration of the blue economy in the policies and strategies for development. taking as a starting point an analysis of maritime transport in the north of Africa and its impact on international trade; likewise, it will provide participants with an opportunity to review the practical guide for strategies for the blue economy and include it within their strategies.

The African finance ministers debated, on the second day of the work of the forum, the fiscal policies necessary to be applied in the African continent free trade zone, as part of the programme for sustainable development before 2030 and its Agenda 2063 development programme for the private sector in the digital economy, together with the role of the private sector in the digital economy.

The conference came to a close after ministers and experts once again jointly reviewed the examination of recommendations, together with an adoption of the results produced during the meeting.

The plenary session recognised that the Gross Domestic Product of Africa recorded a growth rate of 3.2% in 2018, compared with 3.4% in 2017, and for 2019 the growth rate should increase to 3.4%.

Furthermore, they mentioned that African economies were facing significant financing deficits, and should fight to mobilise national resources, despite the numerous fiscal reforms; and also pointed out that, while digitisation provided new opportunities to simplify and improve the relationship, then through this it was possible to improve the efficiency of our access to international markets. They also recognised that the expansion and diversification of the holding of public investment is a prior requirement for an increase in public investment, and that there is considerable room for manoeuvre in order to mobilise the financial concerns of the private sector, in addition to public finance, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, among other recommendations.

The Economic Commission for Africa, created in 1958, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, whose mission is to support the economic and social development of its member States, encourage regional integration, and promote international cooperation for development in Africa.

Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office

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