Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

PS25
okonjoiweala3_PIUS UTOMI EKPEIAFP via Getty Images_worker Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Ensuring Africa’s Continued Rise

To commemorate its founding 25 years ago, PS is republishing a selection of commentaries written since 1994. In the following commentary, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala wrote that, while Africa is well placed to build diversified, sustainable economies, policymakers cannot simply assume that the continent’s rise will continue.

LAGOS – Africa’s rise is in danger of faltering. After years during which the continent’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 5%, global uncertainty, depressed commodity prices, and jittery external conditions are threatening to undermine decades of much-needed progress. Ensuring the wealth and wellbeing of the continent’s residents will not be easy; but there is much that policymakers can do to put Africa back on an upward trajectory.

First and foremost, policymakers must secure the financing needed to pursue sustainable development in an uncertain global environment. The World Bank estimates that meeting Africa’s infrastructure needs alone will require at least $93 billion a year to fund its infrastructure needs alone. Climate-friendly, sustainable infrastructure will cost even more. And yet, as long as global growth remains weak, Africans cannot count on developed countries to honor fully their commitments to help attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Africa must rapidly develop its own resources, beginning by nearly doubling tax revenues. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, tax revenues account for less than one-fifth of GDP, compared to more than one-third in OECD countries. This means there is plenty of room for improvement. From 1990 to 2004, for example, Ghana reformed its tax system and raised revenues from 11% to 22% of GDP. Admittedly, such progress is difficult; in Nigeria, we saw an opportunity in raising non-oil tax revenues, but struggled to seize it.

25 years of the World's Opinion Page

Project Syndicate celebrates its 25th anniversary with PS 25, a collection of our hardest-hitting commentaries so far.

To continue reading, log in or register now.

Register / Log In

Get unlimited access to all PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine. Subscribe Now.

Project Syndicate celebrates its 25th anniversary with PS 25, a collection of our hardest-hitting commentaries so far.

Read More

https://prosyn.org/atmvbnG;
  1. asoros3_Emanuele CremaschiGetty Images_italycoronavirusnurse Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

    The Spirit of Milan

    Alex Soros

    The COVID-19 crisis has given the European Union an opportunity to honor its high-flown talk of values and rights, and assert itself as a global leader. To seize it, the EU and its member states must demonstrate much greater solidarity, not least toward Italy, than they have so far.

    0

Edit Newsletter Preferences