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Cómo garantizar la continuidad del ascenso de África

LAGOS – El ascenso de África está en peligro de desvitalizarse. Después de años en los cuales la economía del continente creció en una tasa promedio anual del 5%, la incertidumbre mundial, el descenso de los precios de las materias primas, y las quisquillosas condiciones externas amenazan con socavar décadas de tan necesario progreso. Garantizar la riqueza y el bienestar de los residentes del continente no será fácil; pero, hay mucho que los formuladores de políticas pueden hacer para poner de nuevo a África en una trayectoria ascendente.

En primer lugar, las autoridades deben garantizar la financiación necesaria para lograr el desarrollo sostenible en un entorno mundial incierto. El Banco Mundial estima que África requerirá por lo menos $93 mil millones al año para financiar solamente sus necesidades de infraestructura. La infraestructura que sea respetuosa del clima y sostenible costará aún más. Y, sin embargo, mientras el crecimiento mundial continúe siendo débil, los africanos no pueden contar con que los países desarrollados cumplan plenamente con sus compromisos respecto a ayudarlos a alcanzar los Objetivos de desarrollo sostenible.

África debe desarrollar rápidamente sus propios recursos, empezando por llegar a casi doblar sus ingresos fiscales. En toda el África subsahariana, los ingresos fiscales representan menos de una quinta parte del PIB, en comparación al tercio que representan en los países de la OCDE. Esto significa que hay mucho espacio para la mejora. Desde el año 1990 al 2004, por ejemplo, Ghana reformó su sistema fiscal y elevó sus ingresos desde el 11% al 22% del PIB. Se debe admitir que dicho avance es difícil; en Nigeria, vimos que podíamos incrementar los ingresos fiscales mediante el aumento de los ingresos relacionados al petróleo, pero tuvimos dificultades para concretar dicha oportunidad.

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