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UN Paper Highlights Structural Transformation for African Development Goals

millenium-campaing-undpMarch 2014: “Structural transformation is both a goal and a necessity to adequately finance, achieve and sustain development goals in the African context” and should include developmental governance, environmental sustainability and equitable development, according to a publication by the UN Millennium Campaign Africa and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Service for Africa.

‘Structural Transformation and the Challenge of Financing Africa's Post-2015 Development Agenda' argues for a paradigm shift from a culture of dependence on external resources and leadership to greater reliance on domestic institutions and resources. It proposes African goals, targets and indicators for the post-2015 development agenda.

The paper explains Africa's experience with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Structural Adjustment Programmes, which have tackled absolute poverty but not addressed Africa's dependence. This contributes to Africa's desire for a transformational agenda, it notes.

Enhanced domestic resource mobilization is critical for financing Africa's development, according to the paper. It says that Africa's inability to finance its own development “weakened its voice in the international political arena,” and that external support should not prioritize accountability to external providers over citizens, or undermine tax systems. The paper recommends: maximizing domestic resource mobilization, including through taxation; ensuring that international aid commitments align with country priorities; addressing illicit outflows of capital; promoting a domestic capital market; and maximizing natural resource benefits, inter alia.

The paper also recommends a goal on government accountability and basing the post-2015 development agenda on new relationships of accountability between people and state, with a focus on issues such as gender equality, human rights, participatory democracy, service delivery and social protection.

It also recommends: indicators on natural resource beneficiation, natural resource rent sharing, tax systems and structures and capital flight; measuring declining reliance on agriculture in gross domestic product (GDP) and employment, rising agricultural productivity and rising per capita growth rates; and three resource mobilization targets on tax-to-GDP ratio, progressive taxation and corporation tax.

The paper is a synthesis of discussions among African parliamentarians, civil society organizations and others at a meeting hosted by the Pan-African Parliament. As part of the effort to develop a shared African narrative on the post-2015 agenda, the Parliament also will host a ‘Pan-African Conference on Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation,' in April 2014, which is a follow-up to the final meeting of the UN-led global thematic consultation on Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, held in February 2013. [Publication: Structural Transformation and the Challenge of Financing Africa's Post-2015 Development Agenda] [Inequalities Conference Announcement] [Webpage of 'Addressing Inequalities' Consultation]