Africans must unite to enhance productivity, create wealth – AfDB

African countries currently lose almost 90 billion dollars in illicit financial flows annually.

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Africans must unite, to enhance productivity, create wealth, AfDBAfricans must unite and stand together to mobilise and efficiently manage the resources required to enhance productivity and create wealth in Africa for Africans.

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB), Vice-President and Chief Economist, Kevin Urama, said this in Abuja.

Urama spoke at the graduation of inaugural Graduands of the African Development Executive Training Programme of the AfDB’s Finance Management Academy (PFMA).

BRANDPOWER reports that the theme of the programme is: “Enhancing Accountability, Transparency and Curbing Corruption and Illicit Financial Flows in Africa”.

According to him, there is no better Group to achieve this than the graduating students of the PFMA.

While presenting their certificates, he urged the graduates to be torch bearers in Africa’s efforts to enshrine full transparency and accountability across the PFM ecosystems in their countries and the continent, reiterating that Africans must unite towards the lofty ideals of attaining desired goals.

”The first cohort of 145 public officials nominated by 45 African countries commenced the 18-month structured Capacity Development (CD) programme in July 2022.

“Of these, 52 public officials from 26 countries have completed the CD programme and satisfied the conditions to be certified by the Bank Group and Partners as PFM experts in their respective countries,” he said.

Approved in June 2022 by the Board of Directors of the Bank Group, the PFMA is designed to deliver high-level structured capacity development on public financial management to African countries.

The PFMA is an implementation activity of AfDB’s programme to strengthen the capacity of African countries in economic governance and knowledge management.

It also aims to enhance wealth creation and prudential management of public finances to improve the quality of life for Africans.

Urama said the rationale for focusing on the PFM was that Africa was natural resource-rich and often cash-poor, and several studies attributed it to poor management of public resources.

According to Urama, African countries currently lose almost 90 billion dollars in illicit financial flows annually.

“And much more in illicit resource flows and resource theft, poorly implemented fiscal policy incentives, and excessive dependence on commodity exports for foreign exchange earnings.

“This exposes countries to highly volatile global market prices and vulnerable supply chains. This situation is not acceptable.

“The Academy provides opportunities for African countries and experts to share practical experiences and learn from each other to improve PFM practices across the continent,” he said.

Urama said that by bringing together experts and practitioners from Africa and its development partners, the bank encouraged peer-to-peer learning among the experts and African practitioners.

He said it also aimed to ensure that PFM programme were duly embedded in the realities of countries.

The vice president also commended all who had made the programme successful and called for collaboration from all to make Africa a great continent.

Meanwhile, Dr Tope Fasua, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs in the Office of the Vice President, said the programme’s curriculum was rounded and apt.

“Especially for the needs of our countries in upscaling the urgently needed knowledge and capability of public officials who work in government’s public financial and debt management functions.

“This graduation of deserving participants, which we are witnessing today, is a testament to the commitment of the Bank in responding to the needs of the regional member countries.

“To fast-track capacity development towards the achievement of the Bank’s High 5’s Agenda, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063,” Fasua said.

He said that as the largest economy and most populous country in Africa, Nigeria occupied a very strategic place in the economic development ecosystem of the continent.

According to Fasua, public financial and debt management remains on the front burners of the government’s “Renewed Hope Agenda” for economic growth and shared prosperity for all citizens.

He urged the graduands to cascade down the knowledge acquired from the training colleges in their various countries.

In his valedictory speech, Isaac Kurasha, from the National Treasury South Africa, thanked the Bank for the opportunity to be part of the training.

Kurasha urged his colleagues to practice all they had gained throughout the training programme.

He said, “throughout the training programme, we contemplated the lack of implementation of actions as one of the weaknesses in our jurisdictions.

“From this cohort, we should be the game changers. Let us go and influence implementation. No matter the positions we hold, let us go and influence change. ”

Kurasha expressed the hope that when the bank called participants to share progress made, there would be positive confessions and impacts in various countries.

He said that to complement the public finance management training, good planning and performance monitoring were key, adding that these were incompatible in several countries.

“Furthermore, gender mainstreaming requires attention, especially with respect to women’s economic empowerment, and so does climate change and its financing.

“I believe we need more capacity in these areas. I hope the African Development Institute is also looking into these subject areas for capacitation,” Kurasha said.

BRANDPOWER reports that the participants comprised mid-to senior-level officials from the Ministries of Finance and Planning, central banks, and other public financial management institutions across African countries.

Participants were also drawn from key anti-corruption agencies and statistical offices.