The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other urgent challenges clearly demonstrate the need for greater resilience and sustained development outcomes in Africa’s economies and societies, writes Jon Williams, International Development and Cities & Urbanisation Leader, PwC South Africa.
Simultaneously addressing existing vulnerabilities and promoting inclusive and resilient growth requires significant investment and expertise.
The international development sector is helping to deliver real change aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa. A recent shift in focus has helped to drive that change; many international development organisations are shifting from traditional forms of foreign aid to supporting structural economic transformations, prioritising funding to mitigate the COVID-19 health crisis and climate change, and leveraging investment and global cooperation. That shift has served to amplify the impact of targeted interventions.
As a community of solvers, we recognise that Africa’s development challenges are too great for one organisation to address alone, and that global cooperation must incorporate a local context in order to help build thriving and resilient communities. Through our years of experience, we have developed partnerships to address these challenges, which has enabled our International Development practice to design world-class programme management capabilities that promote transparency and flexible delivery.
As we look towards 2030, when the international community will assess our collective efforts to achieve the UN’s SDGs, we have an opportunity now to engage in dialogue and drive action among donor agencies, development partners, governments, businesses, communities and other stakeholders. Finding a collective voice for Africa in these conversations is critical to advancing meaningful change.
Our PwC Africa International Development professionals support many organisations and stakeholders as they make the move toward greater sustainability and more inclusive growth. We’re committed to helping address some of Africa’s most urgent development challenges:
- Economic transformation. While some countries have successfully accessed the global debt market, others continue to suffer from the crippling cost of debt. Supporting governments to diversify away from carbon-intensive industries and resources, and to create inclusive and equitable opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, will be pivotal to promoting outcomes of shared prosperity and food security. An increased focus on facilitating trade and investment, and advising governments on designing enabling business environments, are also critical.
- Health. Health will remain a priority in Africa. Challenges in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations, and inequality associated with access to healthcare, contribute to prolonging the social and economic impact of the pandemic. Innovations that leapfrog traditional healthcare delivery models are essential to the provision of healthcare solutions across the continent.
- Climate change and resilience. The development sector must support local actors in preparing for the impacts of climate change, ensuring their resilience to unforeseen events and mitigating the risk of biodiversity loss, as well as food and water insecurity. This is particularly pertinent in light of the discussions around COP26 and how Africa’s challenges should guide the agenda and steer the conversation.
- Infrastructure and cities. Refining the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to fund catalytic projects and placing spatial transformation at the heart of the policy agenda will help to address the infrastructure needs of African cities. In the context of the 4th industrial revolution, access to electricity and digital infrastructure are fundamental to development for Africa. Major investments by multinationals in Africa demonstrate both the opportunity and challenges in digitising a continent where only 58% of the population has access to electricity and 22% to the Internet.
- Education. Driving innovative and meaningful change for learners, teachers and their communities by enhancing and increasing access to basic services and quality education has the potential to empower youth – and particularly girls – to secure a better future for themselves.
Our commitment to making a difference in these priority areas is fully aligned to our societal purpose and our new network strategy, The New Equation.
As the largest provider of professional services in Africa, with over 60 years of experience in 32 countries, we are well-positioned to deliver innovative and sustainable development solutions. We build trusted partnerships with different stakeholders, including development partners, governments and the private sector, and deliver industry expertise informed by an understanding of the unique characteristics and challenges of each country and region on the continent. By continuing to deliver sustained outcomes to our clients and stakeholders, we’re making a meaningful difference in the international development sector, and in Africa.