Experts back bid for Africa’s special top seat in IMF

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Think Tank says resolutions to be debated in September ministers meeting

In Summary
  • The Executive Board is responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of the IMF.
  • The board comprises 24 directors elected by member countries or by groups of countries. 
Delegates at the 13th FOCAC Think Tanks meeting in Dar es Salaam, March 8, 2024.
Delegates at the 13th FOCAC Think Tanks meeting in Dar es Salaam, March 8, 2024.

African and Chinese experts shaping relations between the two continents have backed the proposed additional special seat for Africa at the International Monetary Fund.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) think tanks jointly supported the creation of a third executive director for African countries at the global funding agency.

They held that this would go a long way to “increasing the shareholding and voting rights of emerging markets and developing countries in the IMF.”

The Executive Board, which is responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of the IMF, comprises 24 directors elected by member countries or by groups of countries. 

The experts also backed the call for reforms in the international financial systems, being part of eight resolutions made in a recent meeting in Tanzania to review China-Africa ties.

“We call for promoting reform of the international financial system actively to bridge the development gap,” a brief on the resolutions reads.

The resolutions are due to be considered in a meeting of ministers from Africa and China slated for Beijing later this year.

President William Ruto is among the top world figures expected to grace the FOCAC’s 9th ministerial meeting in September.

At the Dar es Salaam meeting, the experts resolved to also “fully consider the interests of the least developed countries in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocations.”

If approved, Africa would be positioned to better negotiate with the global lenders, hence increasing the respective countries' chances of accessing cash.

In late 2023, the IMF announced that member states had agreed to give Africa the third seat on its executive board and increase the [funding] quotas.

The quotas determine the funding nations provide to IMF as well as their voting power and also determine loan limits applicable to the respective [borrowing] nations.

The experts also agreed to increase capital for multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, “to improve their financial conditions and enhance their financing capabilities.”

“We also agree to provide more support for poverty reduction and development through financing tools, which are based on respecting the policies, philosophies, and actual demands of all parties,” the teams resolved.

Chinese and African experts also pledged “to strengthen infrastructure connectivity and the free flow of production factors based on each country's national plans.”

“We also promote the development of clean energy, information technology, aerospace, and other high-tech industries,” the Think Tank said, pointing to increased Chinese investments in matters of green energy.

The experts also resolved to give Africa a louder voice in the international relations space and increase the representation of the different nations.

“We advocate an increase in the voice of developing countries in the international system, and timely redress the historical injustices suffered by Africa,” the think tanks said.

China and Africa experts reiterated that in the relations, the two sides would “respect and defend each country's national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and right to development.”

“We will also optimize global resource allocation, address the imbalance in development between and within countries in the context of Global Development Initiative, so that all countries, big and small, strong and weak, rich and poor, can enjoy equal development opportunities,” the experts resolved.

The resolutions, once adopted at the upcoming ministerial meeting, would inform China’s priorities for Africa in the next

The Chinese and African experts further resolved to work together to eliminate trade barriers that could still be stifling exchanges and also to advocate for efficient governance.

“Together, we urge the international community to resolve conflicts through rational and peaceful means and pay significant attention to the suffering of people affected by conflicts.”

As a way out of the anxieties over debt, the experts resolved that the two sides would expand bilateral currency settlement and diverse foreign exchange reserves.

“We will also explore the establishment of a fair and objective international credit rating agency within the frameworks of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), BRICS, and other cooperative mechanisms,” the meeting resolved.

The teams also signaled increased people-to-people exchanges on matters of education, science and technology, health, culture and arts.

Thousands of African students have benefited from China airlift programmes, the same intended to be scaled up beyond infrastructure, health, and education.

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