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Marrakech Framework: An African Agenda for Global Financial Architecture

October 13, 2023

Africa has shown resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced fiscal space, debt burdens, climate change, and economic headwinds. Over the past decade, we as a continent have continued to reduce poverty and grow the middle class. We are poised to embark on a transformation journey to help us reach our fullest economic potential. Now is the time for Africa to accelerate its evolution as a single market, a valuable player in value chains, and a destination for investment, particularly in the green economy.

This progress is unfortunately held back by a global system that was created in a different time, for a different world, and which neither adequately meets African countries’ needs nor harnesses the opportunities that our natural and human capital offer. It is past time to create a global financial architecture that better serves Africa.

We envision a global financial architecture that includes Africa not just as a beneficiary but as a contributor of ideas, innovations, and investment possibilities that can transform our economies and benefit the world. To get there, we have outlined five priorities that are achievable in the short to medium term and can make a significant difference to our economies and people. These form the basis of an action plan that must be implemented in the next twelve to eighteen months.

  • Craft a real solution to the debt crisis
  • Provide more grant and concessional money to Africa
  • Ensure that at least five countries re-channel their Special Drawing Rights to the African Development Bank and other African financial institutions
  • Increase African voice and power in global decisions and decision-making bodies
  • Commit to an ambitious green growth agenda for Africa

Given that many of the institutions and governance structures in question reflect the norms of the 1950s, these reforms will be neither quick nor easy. But they are necessary for African and global progress, and we have a unique window of opportunity to drive real progress. We look forward to working with institutional, government, private sector, and civil society partners to create a truly global system that benefits people in every corner of our continent and solves many of the economic problems that have plagued our world for decades.

An African Agenda for Global Financial Architecture Reform: The Details 
  1. Craft a real solution to the debt crisis

African governments are paying 500% more in interest on capital market debt than they would if G20 leaders delivered swiftly on financial reform. In the coming years, African countries will pay an additional US$56 billion on the debt they raised from capital markets over the five years to 2021, compared to what they would pay if they had borrowed from the World Bank instead—putting more countries at risk of debt distress. Given the scale of debt distress facing African countries, and the ineffectiveness of the existing Common Framework which is meant to provide a sustainable path to better debt management, it is no longer feasible to tweak the current system around the margins. The world needs new tools that allow for quick resolution of debt overhang and make space for countries to forge new and more sustainable green growth paths.

While progress for a few nations, notably Zambia, was welcomed in 2023, it is unacceptable that a more ambitious agenda to reform or replace the Common Framework was not put forward. Countries in debt distress cannot wait years for restructuring and debt workouts. It is critical to address the role of private creditors in any future debt restructuring framework.

  1. Provide more grant and concessional money to Africa through the World Bank’s International Development Association and the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust

The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) is a financial lifeline for the world’s poorest countries, many of which are on the African continent. As governments face overlapping crises, IDA should be growing to keep up. Instead, IDA faces a financing cliff in 2024 and a significant drop-off in 2030, which must be avoided at all costs, especially as countries continue to need significant grant aid for health, education, food security, and stability.

Donors must step up to maintain IDA’s commitments at their FY22 level of $38 billion over the next two years, and eventually triple their commitments in line with the needs outlined in the Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks: The Triple Agenda report produced by the G20’s Independent Experts Group in June 2023.

The IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) supports low-income countries with short-, medium-, and long-term interest-free money to help manage balance of payment challenges. The need for the PRGT has only grown amid current global crises, and funding has not kept pace. While the PRGT has been able to provide the equivalent of $24 billion to thirty-nine nations since 2009, it faces a huge gap in pledges, equivalent to $6.3 billion. The global economy is too precarious to allow this financing window to wither. Supporting these critical vehicles for concessional finance will require innovations from these global institutions, but additional financing from contributing countries will also be essential.

  1. Ensure that at least five countries re-channel their Special Drawing Rights to the African Development Bank and other African financial institutions

Re-channeling SDRs to the African Development Bank will provide much-needed liquidity to African countries and get better value from these assets. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has prepared a framework for rechanneling that will maintain the reserve asset characteristics of SDRs, allowing the institution to increase its lending fourfold. Currently, the IMF can lend at less than one-to-one for the SDRs. Successful re-channeling to the AfDB can serve as a model for future re-channeling to other African financial institutions.

In 2021, only $33 billion of the $650 billion SDR distributed by the IMF went to Africa. The African Development Bank proposal provides lender nations the ability to withdraw their SDRs, as they would with any other reserve asset, fully meeting the reserve asset criteria. The SDRs would not be exchanged or swapped but leveraged against their worth.

  1. Increase African voice and power in global decisions and decision-making bodies

The African Union’s admission as a full member of the G20 in September 2023 was a significant first step towards better representing the 1.5 billion people living on the African continent. However, the African Union will need organizational and political capacity to fully leverage its G20 membership to shape a global development agenda that aligns with its own Agenda 2063.

Beyond the G20, however, global institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank Group must reevaluate the balance of power in their boardrooms and move past the idea that shareholding amounts should automatically translate to decision-making power. The African continent is home to the world’s largest free trade area, has a growing and dynamic youth population, and has the potential to pave the way for green industrialization and development that can reshape the global economy. The continent receives significant resources from these global institutions and should, therefore, have a larger say on countries’ priorities and institution-wide decisions.  

  1. Commit to an ambitious green growth agenda for Africa

Africa faces serious challenges to climate-forward transformation. 770 million Africans lack access to electricity and need immediate low-cost options to power homes, schools, and industries that can improve living standards and incomes. Job creation cannot keep up with a young and growing population, and most young people in Africa have not been taught the skills needed for jobs in the green technology, energy, and manufacturing sectors. And Africa’s risk profile often keeps investors from putting real money toward often unproven frontier technology and innovation that will need critical infrastructure to succeed.

A green growth path that supports investment, innovation, jobs, and a just energy transition will unlock serious opportunities for African countries and bring in much-needed capital beyond aid. This can, in turn, give African countries more economic autonomy and level the playing field in the global financial system. All of the actions outlined above, especially finding debt solutions and increasing concessional finance, will help free up resources to invest in the infrastructure, skills, risk management, and governance needed to support the green growth agenda for Africa.

At the same time, in 2009, developed countries committed to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 to support poorer countries on climate adaptation and mitigation. Not only has this pledge not been realized as of 2023, the true costs of climate-related needs in Africa alone are in the trillions of dollars and growing. These unfulfilled promises must be kept. Beyond aid commitments and reforms, Africa needs green investment to spur new industries, transform existing sectors, protect biodiverse areas, and implement adaptation projects. The private sector must step up as a key player in this space.

African Countries’ Responsibility

While we have outlined several demands for the international finance system, we also commit to ensuring that grant and concessional resources, as well as financial investments, are used productively. We will do more to improve public financial management, including effective resource allocation and budgeting, strong fiduciary oversight on spending, and appropriate audit institutions and procedures.

As much as possible, our governments will continue to build institutional capacity and improve governance, leading to stronger policy implementation and reduced losses to corruption. Working with the private sector, our governments can also strengthen pipelines of bankable projects, particularly those supporting green growth and decent jobs. This will include new approaches to identifying projects and assessing potential impacts, emphasizing regional public goods, drawing upon new technologies, and investing more in innovation.

We will need support from the international community in these efforts and will look for lessons from other countries to inform our approaches. Our partnerships with African institutions, African policy institutes, and global think tanks and foundations will be critical to achieving these goals and delivering on our domestic aspirations and the aspirations of the African Union.

The Broader Development Finance Agenda and the Road Ahead

The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in June 2023 accelerated progress on the global financial architecture dialogue. It addressed tensions between stakeholder groups on debt, linked the climate and development finance agendas more effectively, underlined the importance of focusing on green growth and investment in Africa, and helped align the goals of the Bridgetown Agenda, MDB reform movement, and African Agenda for Global Financial Architecture Reform. Summit leaders also put forth innovations such as a global shipping levy, which could raise tens of billions of dollars a year in climate finance; a foreign exchange guarantee mechanism; and a World Bank natural disaster-related debt pause clause for developing countries.

While we welcome these initiatives, the foundational reforms outlined above must remain a primary focus. Without these, innovation will falter in the face of ineffective systems.

The five issues we have prioritized in this Framework are by no means exhaustive, and are complementary to the African Caucus outcome documents, the Nairobi Declaration, the asks from the V20 group of countries, and other compelling and necessary demands for action from Africa and other parts of the world. Building upon progress at the World Bank Group / IMF meetings in Marrakech in October 2023, African and global leaders and partners will need to implement a specific roadmap that ties together all of these agendas, with the support of African institutions, global and bilateral development actors, and African policy institutes that can provide the necessary analysis, advice, and advocacy to inform these efforts.

It is up to all of us to do our part to deliver a global financial architecture that is fit for purpose for today’s world. International financial institutes must embrace reforms and be accountable for rapid implementation. Wealthier countries must recognize the current political economy and provide the space for reforms within institutions where they are often the majority shareholders. And African governments must be accountable for improved public financial management, policy implementation, and conducive investment environments.

Taken together, these efforts can truly transform the global system.


The Marrakech Framework is endorsed by:

Eminent persons

Paul Yaw Boateng
Rosine Sori Coulibaly
Bogolo J. Kenewendo
Arkebe Oqubay
Nicholas Westcott
Hafez Ghanem
Ibrahim Mayaki
Ndidi Nwuneli
Reeta Roy


Think Tanks

Name Organization Position
Khanfir Mondher Tunisia Africa Business Council Vice President
Jakkie Cilliers Institute for Security Studies Chairperson of the Board
Elizabeth Sidiropoulos South Africa Institute of International Affairs CEO
Karim Elaynaoui Policy Center for the New South Executive President
Abdoulaye Diagne Consortium pour la recherche économique et sociale Executive Director
Aloysius Uche Ordu Brookings Institution, Africa Growth Initiative Director & Senior Fellow
Ibrahim Elbadawi Economic Research Forum Managing Director
Antonia Simbine Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) Director General
Ngugi Rose Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis – KIPPRA Executive Director
Hanna Ryder Development Reimagined CEO
Chikuba Zali Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research Senior Research Fellow
Donald Mmari REPOA, Tanzania Executive Director
Berihu Assefa PSI, Ethiopia
Thoane Sengfeng Social Policy Initiative, South Africa COO
Nomahlubi Jakuja Social Policy Initiative, South Africa Senior Researcher
Gloria Somolekae BIDPA, Botswana Acting CEO
Mma Amara Ekeruche Center for the Study of African Economies (CSAE)
Eugenia Kayitesi Institute of Policy Analysis& Research (PAR -Rwanda) Executive Director
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