"Contributing to shaping the Africa of tomorrow, a flourishing, emancipated, independent, stable and resilient Africa, is a main focus and a shared responsibility for the Kingdom of Morocco, which is persuaded of the enormous potential of our African youth and our collective capacities in Africa to try out a beneficial change for our continent." stated Mr. Mohamed Benchaaboun, Minister of Economy and Finance, at the opening meeting, Monday, March 25th 2019,of the Ministerial Sessions of the 52nd Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM2019) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
This is a strong belief and faith in Africa's ability to take charge of its destiny, which sustains the forward-looking vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI for the continent, he stressed. He added that "the Sovereign had repeatedly reiterated the importance of an enhanced and multi-faceted South-South cooperation to address the challenges of development and emergence we face, and Morocco's commitment to succeed today's Conference is a case in point. "
Mr. Benchaaboun also noted that "the increasing of the challenges facing our world today puts pressure on the major reforms momentum, both in terms of peace-building and economic recovery, macro-financial stability, trade facilitation and the fight against various forms of illegal practices ".
Pressure is increasing, especially on developing and least developed countries, while there remains only one decade of the time limit 2030 for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Minister noted. He added that this situation, characterized by rapid and profound changes of the global economic and geostrategic environment and redesign configuring the trade flows, requires a fundamental review of development models.
It calls on, more than ever, decision-makers in international development institutions, as well as national policy makers, to provide more ambitious, innovative and socially responsible solutions, Mr. Benchaaboun noted.
In addition, the Minister stressed that African countries are more likely asked to generate a new growth momentum through a coordinated and multi-stakeholder approach, while enhancing collective well-being and reducing social and spatial inequalities.
He explained that in order to achieve this, the required prerequisites at the economic level can be simplified mainly into three steps. The first is to ensure a sound and resilient macroeconomic framework. The second includes the promotion of private initiative, particularly through good public governance and adequate and inclusive multisectoral strategies. The third relates to repositioning in the regional and international environment on a win-win approach, based on the full use of competitive assets.
Accordingly, Mr. Benchaaboun stated that African governments " are expected, today more than ever, to establish ambitious public policies and be provided with the financial, human and technical means to implement them". It should be noted that greater mobilization of domestic resources to finance national development strategies and infrastructure is a matter of necessity rather than a choice for our countries.
"These resources, that are the results of economic growth, are based mainly on the performance of fiscal policy through the ability, on the one hand, to enhance public revenues, including tax revenues, and rationalize and better target public spending on the other, in order to maintain future commitments under development strategies, "Mr. Benchaaboun noted. He stated that this involves to tax more equitably and spend better.
It is therefore becoming crucial to be provided with sustainable levers to enhance efficiency, transparency and good governance in fiscal policy, through particularly the use of technological innovation and digitization, he stated. He noted that "new digital technologies now has the advantage of providing us with powerful platforms to facilitate and accelerate decision-making and operational processes, while improving access, exchange and data processing".
Similarly, Mr. Benchaaboun also indicated that the power of the digital tool also offers an effective solution to numerous deficiencies that continue to impact negatively our fiscal and financial systems, ranging from tax evasion and avoidance to administrative bureaucracy and complexity. He noted that " Undoubtedly, our African continent made significant progress in the social integration of the digital tool, as demonstrated by the exponential increase in people's access to mobile technologies and Internet".
He also stressed that the African private sector should benefit the most from this digital revolution. He noted that the current environment in Africa is more favorable to the adoption and appropriation of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, with a mostly young and strongly connected population and a significant increase in online transactions, thus offering a huge potential for the emergence of an ecosystem which encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.
As regards trade development, the introduction of digital solutions appropriate to Africa should enable upgrading in regional and global value chains and strengthen the competitiveness of African businesses, while reducing the weaknesses of our economies to cope with the energy and commodity price shocks that predominate the continent's exports, he added.
The COM2019, held from March 20th to 26th, under the theme "Fiscal Policy, Trade and the Private Sector in the Digital Era: A Strategy for Africa", focuses on the contributions of digital technology, both in terms of developing trade in Africa and strengthening domestic budget policies, as well as improving the collection of tax revenues.