Africa at heart of IMF and WBG annual meetings in Marrakech

Niven Kamel from Marrakech , Tuesday 10 Oct 2023

Strengthening the resilience of Africa, a crossroad between Europe and the rest of the world, is at the heart of discussions in the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) being held in Marrakech through 15 October.

IMF
A pedestrian walks past a billboard announcing the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund annual meetings, on the side of the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, DC, on October 5, 2023. AFP

 

"For the global economy to be prosperous in the 21st century, Africa must move forward. The continent has abundant resources and inexhaustible energy; not to speak about its creativity," affirmed the Managing Director of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva.

Georgieva made her comments in a speech to a session organized on the sidelines of the meetings entitled “Africa looking for stronger and more resilient growth.” 

“Advanced economies are aging rapidly, but they have immense amounts of capital. It is essential to link this capital to the enormous human resources of the African continent to inject more dynamism into the global growth,” she added.

According to Georgieva, if the world wants to achieve economic prosperity, it must look to Africa. It is Africa that has the most prominent potential in the coming years; not the US, neither China, nor Europe.

“Africa’s youth are a key force to reach continent development and to build strong economies. Even international policy implementers must also have their focus on Africa,” she added.

“IMF is keen on providing finance to Africa, as well as the Arab world and Middle East countries. Investing in Africa is not only benefiting its youth but also helps the entire world,” Georgieva noted.

The Marrakech meetings are therefore an opportunity to highlight the ambitions and priorities for Africa, where the repercussions of global shocks are most felt.

The multiple shocks and the restrictive financial conditions worldwide have lowered the continent’s GDP growth from 4.8 percent in 2021 to 3.8 percent in 2022.

Nevertheless, the African economies remain resilient with an average GDP growth of 4.1 percent in 2023-2024.

Georgieva had also revealed the IMF’s intention to modify its administrative structure and give Africa a third seat on its executive board “in order to empower the voices of developing economies, especially those of sub-Saharan Africa.”

This decision is a reflection of recognizing the important role that Africa can play in the global economy. The continent has a huge potential for abundant natural resources and a youth population. Africa is the second largest continent after Asia in terms of population which is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2025.

Allocating the third seat of the IMF's executive board to Africa is of crucial importance for the continent’s countries, giving them a stronger voice in the decision-making process, especially about policies that affect the global economy.

The WBG has also announced its intention to give Africa a seat on its board of directors at the annual meeting of Marrakech.

“Countries around the world must work together to overcome the crisis; we can no longer afford to work separately,” concluded a WBG official during a session dedicated to Africa.

“The economy is resilient, but it is being tested by weak growth and widening divergences,” Georgieva stated.

She went on to explain that this remarkable resilience of the global economy is “largely due to stronger-than-expected demand for services and notable progress in the fight against inflation.”

According to Georgieva, even if the recovery is on track after the successive shocks in recent years, it will be “slow and uneven.”

The global growth rate remains rather weak and well below the average of the 3.8 percent registered over the past two decades, she added.

“The cumulative losses of the global economy in terms of production due to successive shocks that have occurred since 2020 amounted to $3,700 billion in 2023,” Georgieva stated.

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