- Says the war has dampened prospects of inclusive growth and economic integration
- IMF director speaks of professions that enable corruption and jurisdictions that provide safe a harbour for proceeds of corruption.
There are real risks of reversal of the benefits of trade and economic integration, especially for developing and emerging markets, as the world settles into disparate and segmented economic, trading and currency blocs, the Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame, has warned.
Welcoming delegates to the High Level Conference on Promotion of Governance and the Fight Against Corruption in Gaborone recently, Minister Serame said this is because the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has disrupted trade and access to essential products. The war has also accelerated inflation, thereby eroding incomes and living standards, she added.
The conference that Serame was addressing was hosted jointly by the Bank of Botswana (BoB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She noted the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic – now in its third year – of literally stopping global economic growth in its tracks and dampened prospects of inclusive growth and economic integration.
“Nevertheless, a positive outcome is the acceleration of digitalisation, which has the potential to foster new economic opportunities and enhanced inclusion,” she said. The Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Antoinette Sayeh, commended the trajectory of Botswana from one of the world’s poorest economies to now an upper middle-income country, saying it is testament to the prudent macroeconomic management, strong governance, and good institutions adopted by the country.
Sayeh said the issue of good governance and transparency is more than just about wasted money but is also about erosion of a social contract and corrosion of a government’s ability to grow the economy in a way that benefits all citizens. “Of course, corruption has long been an issue,” she observed. “However, today, as we face multiple crises at once – the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the ongoing challenges of climate change and the security situation in the Sahel – the need for good governance has only become more urgent.”
These multiple crises have made it very clear that countries that have strong economic institutions could respond more effectively to them and better prepare for a resilient recovery. Sayeh said the IMF also recognises that addressing corruption is an international issue, given the role of professions that enable corruption and jurisdictions that provide a safe harbour for proceeds of corruption. She emphasised that the IMF is committed to ensuring that public resources are used effectively to contribute to shared and lasting prosperity for the people.
Sayeh said Botswana is among African countries ranking even higher than many developed economies in the area of governance. “Here in Botswana,” she said, “we saw the development of a good policy framework to prudently manage the wealth from mining resources.” The High-Level Conference on Governance and Corruption discussed how Africa could reap the benefits of good governance to improve growth opportunities, create jobs, reduce poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).