The finance and development programme seeks, through research and collaboration, to mobilize a critical mass of informed stakeholders to advocate for the reform of financial policies in a manner that will encourage domestic resource mobilization and the deployment of foreign investment in strategic sectors in light of its outward transfer of resources from the domestic economies.
No country has developed without mobilising its own resources for productive investment and domestic capital formation. As in other parts of the world that have been successful in economic transformation, as much as is possible of the resources generated in African economies need to be retained for investment in strategic economic sectors and activity. External finance, both public and private, is critical to complement national resources. It is essential, however, that external finance is directed to strategic economic activities that compensate for its ultimate outward transfer of resources which must be coordinated to minimize the disruption of the continued formation of capital within the national economy.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) sponsored structural adjustment policies (SAPs) introduced from the mid-1980s and enforced by means of aid-based conditionality throughout Africa were introduced as a response to the challenges associated with resource mobilization in African countries. In the context of corporate driven economic deregulation which had begun to take hold through most of the advanced industrial world, however, SAPs became a project of neoliberal, free market ideology, aiming to install the primacy of the market throughout all economic relations and social provisioning around the globe. This system reduced the role of the state to providing conditions appropriate to the primacy of the market. The result has been thirty years of the wholesale dismantling of financial policies that had been put in place to mobilize financial resources domestically and deploy them to strategic sectors of the economy with the resulting replacement of the public sector role in the economy with the profit logic of private investment.
As the domestic private sector was too weak to assume the private-sector led economic development mandate so abruptly thrust upon it, this role effectively fell to the foreign investor, typically transnational corporations. Investment policy thus came to be defined around the primary goal of creating conditions favourable to attracting the foreign investor. Foreign investment has become closely intertwined with financial dealings, and with the exotic new products and instruments of the age of financialisation. The loosening of regulations to encourage foreign investment has thereby also created space to affect policy for all these financial instruments that would otherwise have little place in an investment strategy of a developing economy.