The 52nd session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM2019) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was inaugurated Wednesday, March 20 in Marrakech. The first session of this conference was reserved for the meeting of the Committee of Experts, which elected Mr. Zouhair Chorfi, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, in his inaugural session, as Chair of the COM2019 Bureau.
At this meeting, whose theme is "Fiscal policy, trade and the private sector in the digital era: a strategy for Africa", several matters are to be discussed including the evolution of the economic and social situation in Africa and the assessment of the progress of the continent's regional integration.
Experts will also discuss the contributions of digital technology to the development of economic exchanges in Africa and to the strengthening of national fiscal policies (allocation and management of public expenditures), in addition to improving tax revenue collection (efficiency of collection systems and broadening the tax base to sectors traditionally considered difficult to tax, such as agriculture, the digital economy or the informal sector). Moreover, the ideas brought forward during this inaugural session laid the groundwork for future debates, according to ECA's Macroeconomic Policy Division Director, Mr. Adam Elhiraika, "Africa's growth is on the rise, but it will have to triple to achieve socio-economic goals," adding, "Macroeconomic conditions in Africa are improving at a slow pace" .
As for Mr. Zouhair Chorfi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, he stressed that “The averages (of growth) can hide great disparities. Africa's debt is around 50% of GDP. Our growth is insufficient to support sustainable development goals. The level of investment is 25% of GDP”.
The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance also pointed out that since the advent of the internet, companies have had to adapt to the new demands of the market, while adding that "we are determined, committed and confident in our vision".
Furthermore, many speakers in the debate that followed this inaugural session have made observations and remarks to lay the groundwork for the main debate and to come out with the best possible recommendations and conclusions.
Thus, the evolution of the African socio-economic situation marked by inflation, the continent's dependency on agriculture, and the fight against poverty seems to be one of the key points that will be discussed during this conference.