Domestic and transnational revenue mobilisation as part of a state’s post pandemic recovery strategy is now under scrutiny. The role to be played by finance towards the economic and fiscal stabilisation of African economies on one hand, and its role in facilitating resilient moves towards sustainable development on the other, must now be critically examined. The drivers and producers of finance, these being corporations, must be looked at and included in government responses to the new normal economic, social and fiscal eventualities that will require funding. Such inclusion necessitates revisiting the social contract. In this blog, I want to speculate about the inclusion of corporations as part of the social contract – a very controversial perspective in light of the scolding that corporations have received as a result of the inequalities that emerged out of their liberal capitalistic tendencies and their role in advancing illicit financial flows.
But is it fair game to include corporations as part of Africa’s quest under Agenda 2063 to align development with the state’s capacity to mobilise revenue locally? In light of the unpaid billions in taxes due to tax evasion and avoidance strategies employed by corporations, can they be trusted to help states meet their development needs? Relatedly, would including corporations as part of the social contract result in a political move that fits within the centre left political ideology or strengthens the hegemonic influences of the far right? As a political agenda, the far-right position is underpinned by capitalism and the free market rhetoric seeking to maintain social hierarchies by representing the dominant groups and protecting private property. The centre left seeks to ensure a balance between maintaining a degree of social hierarchies and at the same time promoting social equality through redistributive socio-economic policies. So, are corporations Africa’s saving grace against debt crises and the litmus test to strengthening DRM?