Financing development and transformation if I were an African leader
This is a simple simultaneous equation question which when solved will arrive at x= 8 and y= -1. One can use different approaches to solve the same question. Some may need calculators to solve, others may need more time and few may need both. Nonetheless, every approach will result in the same answer. This is how development and transformation works.
Every country has its own way of financing its projects yet all have one major goal in mind. Africa is blessed with resources. However, having the resources does not necessarily make Africa a developed continent. The untold truth is that we have innumerable leaders but fewer leadership skills.
I discus attitudinal change, criminalizing trade misinvoicing, remittance transparency and cost reduction, easy registration of businesses as well as leveraging the use of mobile phones in the agricultural sector as ways of financing development and transformation in Africa if I were a leader. I present these solutions as a major way of tackling issues of low revenue as a result of a poor attitude towards work, illicit financial flow, and over dependency on foreign aid
Development and transformation cannot be possible if we don’t have the right attitude. Exactly 8:30 pm on April 6, 1994, was the beginning of a 100 days slaughter of which more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed. Yet the country is now one of the fastest growing economies with Kigali being one of the neatest city in Africa. This is not because of the ban of non-biodegradable polythene bags or that the people keep the Umuganda day holy.
Rwanda is a few rungs above others on the development ladder because they have developed a united way of thinking and dealing with issues. As a leader, I will make sure the right attitude, especially towards work, is maintained.
There is a notion that government work is not anyone’s work so many do not give off their best and this has led to millions being lost due to low productivity. This notion is absolutely preposterous and utterly farcical. “89% of workers fired from a job were let go for attitude problems as opposed to 11% who were fired due to lack of skills’’ Mark Murphy CEO of leadership IQ stated.
It is very common in many African countries to see workers sleeping or indulging in gossips during working hours. His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo; Ghana’s president was right when he stated: “we arrive at work late and spend the first hour praying; we are clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work because it is the official closing time”. This has to end because to get the result you want you to have to depend on people to carry the day.
I will set up strict working policies to ensure that workers have the right attitude to work. Measures such as firing workers who do not perform will be enforced and this will not be an all talk and no action initiative. Motivational packages will be available for workers who give of their best. Increase in productivity and sales implies more money through taxation for the country.
Illicit financial flows is a very big issue to tackle if we are looking at financing development and transformation. The World Bank study on illicit financial flow in Malawi and Namibia estimates that revenue lost to corruption and tax evasion account for between 5 % and 10% of the GDP. Corrupt officials using incognito shell companies to transfer monies to banks in developed countries, trade misinvoicing and money laundering are some few activities that foster illicit financial flows.
In line with the sustainability goals that contain certain undertakings to cut the flow and increase the return of stolen assets, I will make sure that private sector especially those in the mining and oil sectors are transparent with their dealings. I will do this by establishing independent bodies that will check and verify the volumes of natural resources and oil extracted by these companies. This will ensure that the right amount is paid to the government. Also, I will adopt laws that will clearly prohibit trade misinvoicing since its eating up funds especially in developing countries.
From 2006 to 2011 after signing a concession agreement worth at least US $16 billion many thought this was a good step to development. Unfortunately, in the same year, Liberia’s GDP was less than a billion dollar. Many countries in Africa have lost from the intercompany transaction because of trade misinvoicing. I will adopt model laws that will criminalize trade misinvoicing.
Remittances will be another area I will focus on to finance development. According to the United Nations international report in 2013, 232 million people are living outside their countries birth. Monies sent to developing countries are now officially about a total of $440 billion every year. This figure indicates that remittances are three times higher than official aid flow according to the World Bank.
Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa grew to $37.8 billion in 2017 and will hit around $39.2 billion in 2018 and $39.6 billion in 2019. Remittances are supposed to help increase national income but unfortunately the introduction of innumerable means of remitting dwindles the positive impact it could have in a country. This is due to the fact that these unrecorded informal channels such as mobile money are not costly.
US$32 billion in remittances is failing to reach recipient due to high fees associated with sending and receiving money. I will purse cost reduction in remitting through formal means. That way more people will remit through these recorded channels. At the macroeconomic level the transparency in remittances will positively contribute to GDP growth and at the household level it would reduce poverty and increase supplement income. These foreign revenues could be channeled to improving the agricultural sector to facilitate development.
Easy registration of businesses will be my next focus. Many get frustrated because of the cumbersome process in registering a business and the cost of registering these businesses. This turns many potential investors and individuals away. In my governance, I will make it very easy to register a business. Thereby creating more jobs especially for those in rural areas. This will imply more employment and reduce the dependency rate. The government will also benefit through taxes.
Lastly, I will partner with mobile application developers to create an application that connects farmers, retailers, and consumer. Farmers will get to display their available product instead of waiting for days before transporting them. This will reduce post-harvest loss and the consumers will get to also choose from selective farmers their choice of product. Since the world is gradually moving away from food security to food safety, the mobile application will also have a tracker that checks where the farm is located to ensure food safety. The government gets income by charging a percentage on every purchase.
It’s high time we stopped scratching where didn’t itch and laughing when we aren’t tickled. Just like Martin Luther said “there is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism’’. Now is the time for Africa. We can finance development and transformation without fully depending on aids. It’s time to straighten our backs up because no one can ride our backs unless it is bent. Yes we can
Benedicta Dorcas Tetteh
featured image from pixels.com
References and endnotes.[i]
- [i] GPD means Gross Domestic Product