ABUJA. — Dr Benedict Oramah, President, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says that African countries should shift their economies away from commodity dependence, to move their people out of poverty.
Dr Oramah made the appeal in a statement by the Head of Communication and Events of the bank, Mr Obi Emekekwu, on Monday in Abuja. While speaking at a panel discussion at the Africa 2017 Forum, organised in the Egyptian resort city, Dr Oramah said that the countries should rather implement the diversification of their economies.
This, he said, should be done by engaging in production and trade in higher value goods, similar to what the Asian nations had done to move out of poverty. He warned that if Africa failed to move in that direction, the countries would fall deeper in to poverty.
“Africa should not depend on aid and grants for its development as there is no record of any country having achieved development on the basis of aid and grant. In the alternative, African countries should wean themselves from that mindset and should make sure that their development projects were bankable in order to attract the necessary capital.
“The continent needs to come together under the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) as continents that traded within themselves developed faster. African markets are too fragmented, hence the need for them to come together,” Dr Oramah said.
According to Dr Oramah, the continent must leverage on its strength which includes its large and youthful population, its huge resource base and the availability of abundant labour. This, he said, could be tapped by focusing on labour intensive industries and engaging in light manufacturing.
He highlighted the important role of intra-African trade in driving African economic integration, adding that Afreximbank would introduce a payment platform to support such trade by enabling cross-border payments in local currencies.
Dr Oramah also noted that globalisation, which brought about free movement of capital, placed Africa at a disadvantage, as smaller economies were likely to always come out the losers in negotiations with larger economies. — Guardian.ng.