MEFMI: sovereign wealth funds “not a panacea for growth”

7 Oct 15

Sovereign wealth funds may help developing countries to manage natural resources but are not a panacea for economic growth, MEFMI’s executive director warned delegates.

Caleb Fundanga, former governor of the Bank of Zambia, said governments should establish rule-based frameworks for SWFs that encourage stability and support the development of infrastructure. The involvement of central banks was also important, he told the MEFMI annual combined forum in Lima on 6 October.

Arunma Oteh of the World Bank told the meeting that $7.7 trillion is invested in SWFs worldwide, while the number of SWFs has doubled during the past four years. Yet that did not mean they guaranteed financial stability.

“Transparency is a fundamental pillar of accountability and a critical step towards more effective management,” she said.

“We have got a lot of frameworks. We have got to walk the talk. Action speaks louder than words.”

The forum heard about the success of Botswana’s Pula Fund, set up in 1993 to support economic development by investing national savings in long-term offshore investments.

Charles Makola, a partner in international tax policy at EY, said countries should not assume that the same models and frameworks work everywhere. “It’s important that you offer a fiscal instrument that’s competitive and speaks to investors and the requirements of your individual countries,” he told delegates.

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