African Ministers Tackle Financial Sector Woes

AFRICAN Finance, Planning and Economic Development ministers have resolved to revive development banking and tackle challenges of long-term financing for the manufacturing sector, to make them more supportive to the continent’s industrialisation process.

The ministers also resolved to make necessary efforts to increase investments aimed at scalling up productivity and growth rate in agriculture and modern service sectors to boost job creation on the continent.

This is according to resolutions passed at the just-ended two-day conference which was held in Abuja, Nigeria, under the theme “Industrialisation for Inclusive and Transformative Development of Africa’.

Zambia was represented by its Ambassador to the African Union Commission, Susan Sikaneta, who participated in the experts’ session prior to the ministers’ assembly.

“Industrialisation is one of the most viable paths to employment-generating growth and development necessary for the structural transformation of the continent,” the ministers said in a statement shortly after the conference.

While Africa’s growth rate has been among the highest in the world, African policy makers are concerned that this growth has not been inclusive, while inequality has widened considerably.

“In order to accelerate employment growth, large sectors with high employment elasticity need to constitute the main engine of growth.

“We will also encourage the inflow of quality foreign direct investment which contributes to the expansion of domestic production, diversification of exports, transfer of technology, upgrading and development of local skills and innovations, as well as the deepening of economic linkages.” the ministers added.

Meeting for the first time on the sidelines, Africa’s central bank governors also focused on structural transformation on the continent, promising to support inclusive and transformative growth policies and dynamic initiatives designed to actualise Africa’s industrialisation.

They urged members to use monetary, credit and exchange rate policies to support the growth of industrialisation to combat poverty and unemployment as it is done in India, China and Cambodia.

Speaking at the end of the deliberations, Nigeria’s Finance Minister and chairperson of the session, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, joined the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa in praising participants and officials for a successful conference. “We have set a very high bar in terms of interactions and what to expect.We mustn’t let the quality slip,” she said.

Highlights of the last day of the meeting was the launch of the 2014 Economic Report on Africa, an annual co-production of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU).

Source : The Times of Zambia

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