The rotating presidency passed to Guinea at a particularly important moment in the lead-up to the Doha International Conference on Financing for Development in December 2008.
The Leading Group organised, with the UN, a side-event specifically dedicated to innovative fi-nancing mechanisms.
The Doha Conference injected new impetus after the pilot phase that began with Monterrey.
At the fifth plenary meeting in Conakry in Guinea, on 6 and 7 November 2008, the Leading Group called for a change in scale in the implementation of innovative financing mechanisms and adopted the Conakry Declaration unanimously.
Attended by over 70 representatives, this high-level conference was able to take stock of the situation with regard to existing mechanisms and set out prospects for the future.
The meeting was opened formally by Mr. Ahmed Tidiane Souré, Guinea’s Prime Minister in the presence of several ministers and ambassadors, along with Philippe Douste-Blazy, Special Adviser to the United Na-tions Secretary-General on Innovative Financing for Development, and it took stock of the progress made on innovative financing as well as defining some prospects for the future.
Over these two days, a number of topics were discussed by the participants in round tables and ple-nary sessions:
- Innovative financing mechanisms and aid effectiveness,
- Climate change, market instruments and financing for development,
- Voluntary solidarity levies and the Millennium Foundation for Innovative Finance,
- Digital solidarity,
- Migrant remittances,
- The role of private finance for development,
- The formation of an African task force on the air-ticket levy,
- The currency transaction tax and certain financial flows,
- Combating international tax avoidance / mobilisation of internal fiscal resources,
- The three pilot projects in the health domain (UNITAID, IFFIm, AMCs).
At the close of the two-day meeting, the participants unanimously adopted the “Conakry Dec-laration”, a common contribution to the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development in Doha, 29 November to 2 December.
1. Aid effectiveness
The work done by the round table on this topic demonstrates the direct link between the effec-tiveness of aid and innovative financing mechanisms. In particular, the participants empha-sised the predictability, stability and qualitative additionality offered by innovative financing mechanisms, and the need to ensure their complementarity.
2. South/South cooperation
Contributions to the proceedings on South/South cooperation, and particularly those of Chile, Guinea and Brazil, addressed the need to encourage cooperation not only between countries but also between regions.
The existence of a space for South/South cooperation must be highlighted and could offer a genuinely effective tool for the mobilisation of financial resources for development.
3. Digital solidarity
Senegal and the secretariat of the DSF argued for setting up and implementing a digital soli-darity levy of 1%, assisted by the driving role of Senegal.
4. Migrant remittances
This round table offered an opportunity for exchanges of experience between the member countries of the Leading Group and international organisations, with contributions from the delegates of Morocco, Italy and the International Organisation for Migration. These ex-changes covered bank deposits (both remunerated and unremunerated), amounts remitted, the link between migrant remittances and official development assistance, accomplishments bene-fiting disadvantaged social groups and the role of such remittances in attaining the Millen-nium Development Goals (MDGs).
The main recommendations related to the channelling of remitted funds towards productive investment and job creation, maximising the impact of diaspora on development and reducing remittance costs.
5. The role of private finance for development: issues and innovations
Introduced by contributions from the French Development Agency, the World Bank and the WHO, the debate centred on:
The relationship between private and public fund flows: the frontier between these types of flows is not always clear insofar as those involved are often acting in partnership;
The putting in place of sets of tools for financial engineering.
It nevertheless became apparent that, despite its driving character, private investment does not guarantee sustainable development, and leads to mechanisms that are often highly complex and raise problems of implementation and monitoring. In conclusion, the participants felt that this topic merited inclusion in the agenda of the Leading Group for further consideration.
6. Formation of an African task force on the air-ticket levy
The round table considering this topic was introduced by a presentation given by Guinea, fol-lowed by contributions from Senegal, Niger, France and the United Nations Secretary-General on innovative financing, Philippe Douste-Blazy. All the speakers stressed the impor-tance of the issue and the appropriateness for a large number of African states to adopt a levy on airline tickets with concrete measures, even if the amount of the levy is very low.
Following the discussions, it was recommended that:
- the promotion of the air-ticket levy should be a priority for the Leading Group;
- the case for the air-ticket levy should be put more forcefully at the highest level, with African airports, travel agencies being involved, in addition to regional groups such as, most notably, ECOWAS and the Commission of the African Union.
The Leading Group welcomed the growing number of countries expressing an interest in the levy on airline tickets.
7. The currency transaction tax and certain financial flows
The representatives of the NGO “Stamp out Poverty”, the World Bank and Norway argued extensively for the importance of this tax. Given its potential in terms of the sums it could raise, the Leading Group invited all the countries to look at the possibility of is implementa-tion.
8. Report by the task force on illicit capital flows
The task force, led by Norway, submitted its preliminary report along with proposals for fol-low-up in the second phase. The aim is to stimulate general awareness of the issues relating to illicit capital flows. The task force sought to demonstrate the close link between financial flows, money laundering, illicit transfers, corruption and tax havens.
Numerous suggestions emerged, in particular the relevance of reaching agreement on a global methodology for evaluating the amounts involved in these flows and definition of the steps to be taken to reduce their size, harmonisation of laws and regulations in different countries, possibilities for taxation and the necessity of involving developing countries in order to un-derstand the phenomena surrounding illicit capital flows.
10 March 2009