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AfDB tasks Nigeria, others on inclusive growth

by Business News Report

The African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Abuja urged Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to synergise and drive inclusive growth in the continent. Prof. Mthuli Ncube, AfDB Chief Economist, made the call as a panelist on the topic, “Driving Competitiveness through Cooperation, integration and Economic growth’’.

He said that growth was positive in the region, but the inequalities remained too high. He said if the three countries could synergise, it would help to reduce the average poverty rate of 48 per cent presently in the region.

According to him, the informal sector of the economy, where the small businesses are high, should be encouraged.

Mr Seyi Bickersteth, Chairman, KMPG global Africa practice, said efforts must be geared towards improving intra-African trade currently at 12 per cent.

“For us to have a positive growth, we need to integrate, get rid of the guys at the boarders to reduce cost and time of business and movement,’’ he said.

He said that boarder check remained a major hindrance to free movement of goods in the region, adding that energy issues were another problem that should be tackled to help businesses that would create jobs and reduce inequality indicators.

Bickersteth said the adoption of privatisation of the energy sector by the Nigerian government was a step in the right direction, adding that private sector participation was critical to drive the sector.

He added that private sector participation would drive different market forces and also help reduce corruption.

“Our political leaders have to step down their egos and provide enabling environment for private sector to play a major role,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Cas Coovadia, Acting CEO Business Unity, South Africa, said there was no reason for the three economies not to integrate. He said that the hosting of the WEF in Nigeria was a great opportunity to see the largest economy in the region. He said that leaders should copy initiatives that had worked positively in individual economies and replicate to bring positive economic growth.

Coovadia called for effective use of the large natural resources in the region, adding that the fight against corruption should be intensified in the continent.

“We need efficient private sector participation, enhanced infrastructure and ensure accountability. The opportunity is there, Nigeria has huge business sector, we need to get together and see how to drive the economy of Africa to create jobs,’’ he said.

He called for improved education sector that could create skills needed by the work force in the future.

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