Sub-Saharan Africa and the OECD


(For an overview of our work with North Africa, see here).

The OECD works with various governments and international and regional organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa to promote social and economic progress and policy dialogue in support of Africa’s domestic and regional reform agendas.

The OECD’s work with the region addresses a broad range of policy issues, including structural reform, trade and investment integration, business climate, competition policy, infrastructure development, domestic resource mobilization, the fight against tax evasion, public debt management, budget reform, public governance, the fight against bribery, state-owned enterprise reform, sustainable development and green growth, food security, gender equality, statistical capacity building, innovation, education and skills development, and development cooperation. South Africa, one of the OECD’s five Key Partners, has taken a leading role in many of these activities.

Below is a list of the OECD’s main partnerships and initiatives with Sub-Saharan Africa. Additional information on our work with the region can be found in our Active with Africa brochure. For an overview of the OECD’s development cooperation work with Sub-Saharan Africa, click here.


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OECD Development Centre - Africa Desk

As the centre of gravity of the global economy shifts east- and southward, the OECD Development Centre helps policy makers, investors and activists better understand the opportunities and risks faced by the African continent. The Centre, established in 1961, includes 4 members from Sub-Saharan Africa: South Africa, Senegal, Cap Verde and Mauritius. At the core of its Africa programme is the African Economic Outlook, a unique annual report produced by the OECD Development Centre, AfDB, UNECA and the UNDP Bureau for Africa that monitors the economic performance and prospects of 54 African economies, analyses the key successes and challenges faced by these countries and provides innovative policy advice. The results of the Outlook are regularly debated publicly at the International Economic Forum on Africa in Paris, as well as at several events in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.


Sahel and West Africa Club

Founded in 1976 as the “Club du Sahel” in response to the drought crises in the region, the Club’s mission is to promote the development and integration of the West Africa region. Members include three West African regional organisations (ECOWAS, UEMOA, CILSS) and 7 of their development partners. The SWAC Secretariat, based at the OECD, monitors and analyses regional political, economic, and social trends; supports West African organisations in formulating and implementing regional policies; devises strategic guidelines and policy tools; and promotes West African positions and policies in global debates and initiatives. 


African Partnership Forum (APF)

The APF was established in 2003 following the Evian G8 Summit, in order to broaden the dialogue on Africa’s development beyond the G8 and NEPAD to other stakeholders. APF Members include personal representatives of heads of state or government of NEPAD member-countries, other African institutions and Africa’s major multilateral and bilateral development partners. The APF is co-chaired on an alternating basis by two African and two development partner countries (currently, Ethiopia, Benin, US and Belgium). APF members meet twice a year, one meeting focusing on the main policy concerns and priorities for Africa’s development, the second on monitoring progress regarding the delivery of commitments by African countries and their development partners. The OECD participates in the APF together with other organisations such as the IMF, World Bank, UNDP, WTO, AfDB, UNDP and UNECA. Since 2006, it also hosts the APF Support Unit, which provides substantive policy inputs for the APF bi-annual meetings and produces the Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness in Africa, jointly with UNECA.

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NEPAD-OECD Africa Investment Initiative

Launched in 2006 as a partnership between the OECD and NEPAD, the Initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of African countries to design and implement reforms that improve their business climate and raise the profile of Africa as an investment destination. It is chaired by the NEPAD CEO, with South Africa and Japan as Vice-Chairs. It currently actively works with around 20 African countries. The Initiative facilitates high-level dialogue among African policy makers, conducts investment policy reviews of selected African countries, develops regional investment policy frameworks (e.g., with the Southern African Development Community), conducts thematic analytical work and studies (e.g., on private sector participation in infrastructure development), and supports capacity-building activities (e.g., training for designing and implementing public-private partnerships in infrastructure development).

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Centre for African Public Debt Management and Bond Markets

Sound debt management allows African policy makers to develop local-currency bond markets, integrate into a worldwide network of debt managers, and enhance awareness of advances in Africa among policy makers, investors and others outside the continent. The OECD and 22 African countries are working together to create stronger securities markets and to help build the necessary market infrastructure in Africa. This work is managed by the Africa Centre for Public Debt Management, a joint venture of the South African National Treasury and the OECD that was launched on 30 June 2011 and is located in Midrand, South Africa. The Centre promotes policy dialogue amongst public debt managers, market participants and other public officials via the annual ‌OECD Forum on African Public Debt Management as well as regional workshops;  collects data on government debt and bond markets (African Central Government Debt 2012: Statistical Yearbook), and organises capacity building activities.

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OECD/AfDB Initiative to Support Business Integrity and Anti-Bribery Efforts in Africa

In December 2008, the OECD and the AfDB launched a partnership to support African governments in their efforts to fight bribery and corruption. Working with African policy makers, businesses, regional and international organisations, the Joint OECD/AfDB Initiative also aims to boost private-sector competitiveness by promoting standards of corporate integrity and accountability. These policies and standards are grounded in the provisions of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials. The Joint Initiative was officially launched in January 2011 with the adoption of the Anti-Bribery and Business Integrity Course of Action that sets out specific steps that 20 African countries commit to undertake following the recommendations of the 2012 Stocktaking Report of Business Integrity and Anti-Bribery Legislation, Policies and Practices in Twenty African Countries. The Initiative is monitoring progress towards achievement of the Course of Action. It is also currently developing Integrity Guidance for Companies.

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OECD Network on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises in Southern Africa

The OECD supports the development of policy initiatives to improve the corporate governance of state-owned enterprises in selected Southern African economies. The Network, which was launched in 2008, aims to raise awareness of the challenges and the benefits of state-owned enterprises; evaluate the current governance frameworks and practices against the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises; and support viable and effective reforms adapted to the conditions in 15 Southern African economies. The Network, which works closely with the Southern African Development Community and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, is currently developing Regional Guidelines for State-Owned Enterprise Governance and Reform in Southern Africa via a Taskforce of five countries (Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe).


OECD Partnership with CABRI

The OECD Senior Budget Officials Regional Network for Africa, established in 2004, is a partnership between the OECD Senior Budget Officials Network and the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI). CABRI enables senior budget officials from 24 African countries to exchange best practices and promote more transparent and effective public financial management systems. Since 2004, the Regional Network for Africa has met annually in different African countries. The OECD and CABRI have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2013 to broaden their cooperation in the areas of budgeting (e.g. Survey of Budget Practices and Procedures in Africa), the collection and standardisation of revenue statistics, and the implementation of public financial management commitments of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

OECD Task Force on Tax and Development- Partnership with the African Tax Administration Forum

The OECD Task Force on Tax and Development was established in 2010 as a multi-stakeholder advisory group composed of OECD and developing country partners , international and regional organisations, civil society and businesses. It is chaired by South Africa and the Netherlands and involves cooperation with the AfDB, NEPAD, SADC and EAC. The Task Force aims to support domestic resource mobilisation in developing countries, including in Sub-Saharan Africa. It helps deliver OECD technical assistance that focuses on: state-building and capacity development, effective transfer pricing regimes, increased transparency of financial reporting by multinational enterprises, and enhanced transparency and exchange of information to combat cross-border tax evasion (supporting the work of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in which 17 African countries are members). In addition, the Task Force supports the activities of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), which brings together 36 African countries to facilitate cooperation on tax administration and legislation, with the aim of improving the efficacy of their tax legislation and administrations (a Memorandum of Cooperation between the OECD and ATAF was concluded in October 2012)

Partnership with the African Competition Forum

The OECD Competition Division supports, together with the World Bank, UNCTAD, the EU, SADC and CUTS the African Competition Forum (ACF). The ACF, established in 2011, is made up of 31 operational competition authorities and government ministries responsible for competition regulation in Africa. The ACF Steering Committee comprises 8 members. The Forum aims to promote the adoption of competition principles in national and regional economic policies; assist in building the capacities of agencies in the region; and promote awareness and appreciation of competition principles amongst government and other stakeholders. The OECD provides advice and training based on its Competition Assessment Toolkit and the Guidelines for Fighting Bid-Rigging in Public Procurement.

Green Growth and Development

Embracing green growth can secure a strong, stable and sustainable future for developing countries. The OECD is supporting Sub-Saharan African countries in identifying policy mixes that can be used to tailor green growth strategies to their own country circumstances. In partnership with the AfDB, it also supports policy dialogue and exchange of good practices amongst African countries, in view of supporting the implementation of green growth policy measures and strategic environmental assessments in Africa.

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Education and Skills Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

The OECD provides policy support for better education and human capital development. Together with the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), it conducted peer reviews of education systems in Gabon and Mauritius and published a review of higher education in the Free State Province of South Africa. In addition to providing tailored policy advice, the OECD invites representatives of Sub-Saharan African countries to participate in various education-related initiatives, such as those of the Institutional Management in Higher Education Programme and the PISA for Development initiative.



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