African countries should get credit rated in order to access international financial markets, the AfDB says.

Although it is a requirement for them to be well-rated in order to raise funds at competitive rates, only 23 out of 53 African countries are currently rated by agencies such as Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s or Fitch, the bank says. Increasing that number would help the continent get more funding from international capital markets.

“The AfDB group works in synergy with these agencies, to encourage African countries to be rated, to enable them to maximise their ability to mobilise resources on capital markets,” says AfDB’s finance and risks management director, Kodeidja Diallo.

A series of presentations are being held by the rating agencies as part of the AfDB’s annual meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, to describe the benefits of credit rating using examples of rated African countries.

Panellists at the AfDB meeting have also pointed out that Africans need to develop the right policies to protect their interests instead of blaming foreign investors for capital flight.

Nkosana Moyo, former vice-president and chief operating officer of the AfDB, said: “We cannot depend on foreign investors to come in with everything. Investors always want to take an upper hand and we end up losing. Governments should concentrate on making the right policies to protect national and African interests, otherwise outsiders will go away with our wealth.”

Another panellist, Ali Mufunkuri, executive chair of Infotech Investment Group in Tanzania, added that African countries should take the upper hand in order to “harvest the rising commodity prices” in global trade.

Other participants regretted the fact that African resources, especially minerals, are exported to be refined elsewhere and then brought back for sale to the continent at high prices.

“We have to break this huge cycle and come up with innovative instruments to safeguard Africa’s interests if we are to eliminate poverty in this continent,” said Terence Sibiya, director and head of global markets sales at Standard Bank.