Africa played an important part of the conversation at the 2017 G20 Summit with the launch of the G20 Africa Partnership for sustainable development. Following on the G20 Africa Partnership Conference held in Berlin in June 2017, this new initiative highlights the need for private investment, sustainable infrastructure growth, and education in the region. Efforts will focus on improved infrastructure, increased investment in market access and education, particularly for women and youth, and improved capacity-building programs.
The Partnership will help facilitate Investment Compacts between African countries, G20 partners, and international financial institutions. These compacts will be demand-driven based on the specific needs and priorities of individual countries. Several countries have already put forth their individual priorities for their Investment Compacts, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia. These compacts aim to both encourage private investment in sustainable economic growth in these countries and ensure efficient, transparent use of public funding. The G20 Finance Deputies have commissioned a report on existing investment initiatives in the region in order to identify existing best practices and lessons learned; these will then be used to inform the targeted Investment Compacts.
In terms of sustainable infrastructure growth, several initiatives were discussed, including enhancing knowledge-sharing and collaboration on quality infrastructure investments (both public and private) and the sustainable management of natural resources. For example, it was suggested that the G20 could partner with the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) in order to expand the coverage and efficiency of climate-related risk finance and insurance schemes in the region. The G20 also renewed its commitment to the Energy Access Action Plan for Africa south of the Sahara.
It was recognized that sustainable growth in Africa depends on enhanced employment and income-generating opportunities for young Africans. Such opportunities depend strongly on increasing education and vocational training through such programs as the G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment. This initiative aims to create 1.1 million new jobs by 2022 and to create innovative skill development programs for at least 5 million young people over the next five years. An additional program for women and girls – eSkills4Girls – was also established, which aims to empower women and girls in Africa through digital education and training.
Finally, the G20 committed to basing these initiatives on equal partnership, with strong African ownership and a focus on regional and national strategies and priorities. In particular, the goals of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and Programmed for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) will play a leading role in the G20 Africa Partnership’s framework. The AU and NEPAD will be leading partners in the implementation and monitoring of the new G20 Partnership.
By: Sara Gustafson, IFPRI