By Melody Njuki
Africa will need $600 billion each year to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) according to The Economic Development in Africa Report 2016 a report published annually published since 2000 by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The report that formed part of the key discussions at UNCTAD14 held in Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on Thursday, also raises concern about Africa’s increasing debt burden noting that between 2006 and 2009, the average African country saw its external debt stock grow 7.8 percent per year, a figure that accelerates to 10 percent per year in the years 2011–2013 to reach $443 billion or 22 per cent of gross national income by 2013.
It further continued to stipulate that the external debt ratios appear manageable, but African governments must take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.The report gave Kenya and Nigeria as an example among others who have borrowed heavily on the domestic market. The report findings further stated that other African countries domestic debts rose from an average of 11 percent of GDP in 1995 to 19 percent at the end of year 2013.
The report which has been published annually since 2000 urged African governments to add new revenue sources to finance their development, such as remittances, public-private partnerships, and a clampdown on illicit financial flows which can be as high as $50 billion per year with year 1970 and 2008 loss of an estimated $854 billion, roughly equal to all official development assistance received by the continent in that time.
“Borrowing can be an important part of improving the lives of African citizen but we must find a balance between the present and the future, because debt is dangerous when unsustainable,” UNCTAD General Secretary Mukhisa Kituyi said, adding that many African countries have begun to move away from dependency on development aid looking to achieve Sustainable Development goals with a new and innovative sources.