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African Finance Ministers, Bank Governors Meet in Khartoum
27 August, 2013
By: Mohammed Osman
KHARTOUM, Sudan (Sudanow) - The African assistance constituted the main issue of deliberation in meetings of the group of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors which wound up sessions in the Friendship Hall here on August 22nd 2013. The meetings ended up with an agreement for preparation of a memorandum by the governors of the African central banks on the assistance to be considered for Africa by the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the governors of central banks and finance ministers in the US capital Washington on next October 11-13. The Khartoum Declaration contained a number of propositions, including a request for the World Bank to set up partnerships with other institutions, particularly the African Development Bank (ADB) for preparation of projects in Africa, provision of assistance and adequate materials, including contribution to the re-financing of the International Development Association (IDA) and information of the national and regional institutions, particularly the central banks and the monetary bodies with additional programmes for expanding the markets of the capitals for finding funds in support of the current financing projects in Africa.
Intensive attendance of more than 200 participants consisting of the African finance ministers and governors of central banks of 54 countries, members of the diplomatic corps, executive directors of the African groups and accompanying delegations were present t the opening session. The participants stressed the importance of facilitating trade, addressing poverty among the African countries and assisting the heavily indebted African countries. The opening session was addressed by President Omar Al-Beshir who indicated that Africa is the cradle human civilization and therefore should not be lagging behind. The Continent, with the will-power it possesses, is capable of assuming a leading role, he said. The President advised the African Finance Ministers and Bank Governors to concentrate on inviting investment rather than requesting direct assistance and grants because investment is more acceptable and beneficial to both investors and recipients. Sudanese Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud, who is the current head of the African Caucus of the African finance ministers and Central Bank Governors in the IMF and World Bank, said participation of African Finance Ministers and Bank Governors in Khartoum meetings offered a good opportunity for acquainting the leading economists in the member states of the economic developments and the reforms and accomplishments of the Sudanese economy. The meetings send a firm message to the international community on the stability of security in the Sudan, he added. Mahmoud said the meetings addressed the African concerns in the economic and financial fields in the framework of the relationship between the Continent and the World Bank and IMF. The head of the caucus leads the activities of the group for clarifying the vision and pinpointing the demands of the African Continent in a way that serves its interests in Briton Woods group. A memorandum is to be prepared containing the African demands, including an increase of the African representation in the high administration. The Sudanese Finance Minister said invitations were offered to his country and to South Sudan to Washington meeting to hear the viewpoints of the two countries on means of addressing the foreign debts which he said exceede US$ 42 billion shared by both countries. Speaking on behalf of the participating delegations and governors, Mr. Katine Latinga noted that the Khartoum meeting was designed to deliberate on the common interests and agree on a unified African stand for addressing the World Bank and IMF. He said the choice of Khartoum as a venue of the meeting was very appropriate for a serious deliberation of the African concerns. Participants’ opinions: The representative of Nigeria, Joseph Anana, said a spirit of fraternity and cooperation prevailed over the deliberations, expecting that the meeting would reach positive recommendations to serve the economic development issues in the Continent in the different spheres, including investment and promotion and backing the African infrastructures in addition to exchange of experience, transfer of information, capacity-raising and training of personnel in the member states for dealing with the development challenges in the Continent. The representative of the french speaking countries- Francophone countries- Mohamed Laskabah, said the deliberations were transparent and serious aimed at finding ways for achieving the African development objectives. He remarked that Africa is the world’s second biggest continent, after Asia, with 12% of the world population. He underlined the need for support and financing by the global institutions for Africa to exploit its immense resources. He described as weak Africa’s voice in those institutions, though he noted that the Continent has begun to wake up for coping with the world due to expansion of education and awareness of the rights, a matter that made the Continent demand a reform of the quota and governance systems within those institutions. The representative of the African Francophone countries expressed hope that Khartoum Declaration would meet an immediate response by the international finance institutions in a way that reinforces confidence in the capacity of the African economy for reaching a sustainable development all over Africa, particularly with regards to infrastructures which represent the cornerstone of all economic, social and political activities. Chadian Finance and Budget Minister calls for writing off, addressing African foreign debts: Mr. George Christian, the Chadian Minister of Finance and Budget, who took part in Washington meeting, said the Sudan has fulfilled its technical commitments for writing off its foreign debts and has endeavored for achieving peace. He said the international community needs to meet its pledges in this connection. The Chadian Finance and Budget Minister predicted the African economy would flourish by 2025 and the African voice would be effective in the international economic and political institutions. He said the solution to the international financial crisis lies in exploitation of the African economic resources in a proper way for welfare and development of the African peoples. The Chadian Minister noted that the African countries have agreements with the World Bank and IMF on immense investments in the fields of industry, electricity, building airports and establishment of organizations for fighting poverty. Calling for development and enhancement of inter-state trade in Africa, The Chadian Finance Minister said there are joint Sudanese-Chadian development and economic projects, particularly in the fields of railways and power. He said his country has made a plan for development under the auspices of President Idriss Debby, making reference to his country’s progress in manufacturing tractors, in cooperation with an Indian company, building an oil refinery and establishment of a cement plant. Dr. Mohamed Khair al-Zubair, Governor of the Bank of Sudan, stressed concern by the caucus of the African Finance Ministers and Bank Governors in the World Bank and IMF with the issues of sustainable economic development in Africa as reflected in their presentation of the potential top priority development projects. Indicating the tremendous natural resources, Dr. Zubair pointed out that the meetings should promote for those potentials in a bid to push forward the economic integration process among the African countries. He said, if it is employed properly, the caucus would utilized in an effective element in the service of the development issues in the Continent. The President of the Sudanese Businessmen Association, Saud Birair, underlined the importance of the African Caucus in the World Bank and IMF. He said the African banks taking part in the meetings possess channels for financing the private sector, citing the preferential trade bank which contributed to provision of the basic needs of the citizen, including petroleum, what and fertilizers. The Director of the International Cooperation Administration in the Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Omar Hajjam, indicated that the African Caucus could serve as an effective mechanism for attracting investment and obtaining funds for pushing ahead the sustainable development in the Continent. He said the Khartoum Declaration would be submitted to the coming meetings of the World Bank and IMF. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Economic Commission, Dr. Omar Ali Al-Amin, called for unification of the financial policies under the umbrella of the Africa Caucus. He said the country is heading towards improving its economy, relying on its available resources and addressing the interlacing problems of the natural resources. He said in the framework of African Caucus meetings in the Sudan as partners in the African Parliament, African Union, the Nile Basin and other African bodies, it is important to formulate financial policies for the central banks and unify efforts towards the interlacing resources, whether water or minerals. Dr. Amin said the Sudan is qualified to draw programmes for coordination with other countries without causing any problems. As regards the foreign debts, the Parliamentary Economic Commission Chairman said negotiations are proceeding in partnership with South Sudan as it is impossible for the Sudan to bear the debts all by itself. However, he noted that at present there is relaxation in the crisis between the two countries. The Minister of State of the Sudanese Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Majdy Hassan Yassin, said the gathering underlined the importance of facilitating trade between the African countries, alleviating poverty and assisting the heavily indebted countries. He said the African Caucus would submit the final document (Khartoum Declaration) to the annual meeting of the World Bank and IMF in Washington next October 11-13. Some observers pointed out that the Khartoum meeting provided a good opportunity for discussion of the sustainable development issues in Africa through promotion of Africa’s investment potentials with an eye to driving forward the process of the economic integration of the African nations. END
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