Workshop: Building an architecture and endogenous financial systems for the funding of African development

Strengthen endogenous capacities to finance development

Africa must assume full responsibility for its development through the optimal use of internal and external resources to implement its development priorities and expedite its escape from the ‘outside aid’ trap. This will require in-depth reform of the African financial and banking sectors and the emergence of financial intermediation capable of efficiently attracting and attributing capital flows.

The wide-scale availability of endogenous financial resources is imperative if the continent is to free itself from outside aid and its controversial effects. So what we must do is focus on a development financing system that is mainly centred on greater mobilisation of public revenues, currencies reserves, the savings of the diaspora, bank liquidities, etc. Optimal mobilisation of interior revenues is the principal tool for ‘endogenising’ development financing in Africa. As a result, the fiscal system must be thoroughly reformed, illegal transfers of capital must be stopped, savings encouraged and the banking system modernised…

At the same time, the continent must be made more attractive to virtuous international financial flows. Alongside efforts to strengthen endogenous financing capacities, we must also attract more foreign capital associated with a real transfer of technology; capital with little impact on foreign debt and capable of opening up export markets for manufactured products, which benefit infra-regional and South-South trade, particularly as a result of traditional development borders being erased by the new opportunities offered by emerging countries.

With this in mind, it is important to initiate reforms to incite the diaspora to invest in the continent’s development, improve the business environment and capacities to manage private capital and, finally, further develop financial intermediation to generate substantial domestic and institutional savings.

As for public aid to development, whose downward trend has coincided with a crisis of legitimacy, it is above all important that it play its role in leveraging the mobilisation of private resources.

Widen populations’ financial inclusion and increase their access to suitable financial services

Africa must improve its populations’ access to financial services provided by conventional financial institutions; these should include diversified products that are affordable and suited to the population’s needs in terms of improving socio-economic conditions and support for projects. Financial inclusion is, in fact, a key factor because it contributes to the autonomy of individuals and the transformation of the most disadvantaged populations’ living conditions. It also makes an essential contribution to strong and inclusive growth. Financial exclusion, on the other hand, reduces a country’s potential for growth and further impoverishes its population.

Micro-finance is already a vector of financial inclusion in Africa. We must go one step further! To this end, it is important to rethink the design and operating mode of commercial banks in order to enlarge the panoply of services provided, bring services closer to rural zones, make the conditions for obtaining credit more flexible and develop products better suited to the needs of the majority of the population, which moves on the edges of the formal economy.

Financial institutions must work harder to make their services more accessible to women, young people and workers in general, particularly in rural areas. The responsibility to include populations does not lie with the financial and banking system alone. It is also indispensable to encourage financial culture and eliminate the socio-cultural and monetary obstacles to making the economy more bank-oriented. By doing so, socially poor but economically active African populations will have greater access to formal banking and financial services.