West, Central African govts brainstorm on economic opportunities

An economic transformation of the African continent is achievable through the creation of the right conditions to turn opportunities into transformational projects in key development areas, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, said.

Speaking at the Abuja roundtable for economic transformation in West and Central Africa, yesterday, Edun noted that economic development could be achieved as African countries continue to confront multiple overlapping internal and external challenges.

The roundtable for economic transformation in West and Central Africa was co-hosted by the government of Nigeria and the World Bank Group (WBG).

The organisers said the roundtable was aimed at providing a forum for World Bank Governors to discuss how to make progress on ambitious priorities for development in the region; how the ongoing World Bank evolution could help accelerate this progress, and how Governors can engage and support an ambitious financing and policy package for IDA21.

“The roundtable discussed and reaffirmed key priorities for the region which include human capital improvement, job creation through private sector development, food security, and the need to further strengthen financial inclusion and expand safety nets. The importance of budget support to stabilize the economy and create fiscal space for investments were highlighted, and participants also recognized efforts by the WBG to remain engaged during crises,” the statement issued at the end of the meeting said.

The roundtable also stressed the critical need to invest in resilient infrastructure across the region. In particular, accelerating electricity access, digitalization and transportation connectivity will promote growth, increase social inclusion, and consolidate fiscal stability.

Participants recognised the need for strong national leadership and significant investments, primarily from the private sector.

While the participants also exchanged on the benefits of financial integration, the discussion centred on the need to harmonize reforms and systems in member states as well as achieving this will require sustained political commitments and investments in the capacity of regional bodies.

There was a consensus that West and Central African countries can realize and sustain development gains that tangibly improve the lives of their citizens through strategic approaches to sustainable growth, job creation, private sector mobilisation, and economic transformation.

The roundtable was attended by representatives from Benin, Cabo Verde, Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Togo.

It was co-chaired and hosted by Wale Edun who also chairs the African Governors Forum of the World Bank and Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Regional Vice-President for Western and Central Africa

The WBG is a key partner in this endeavour and its ongoing transformation will further leverage its capacity to support the people of Western and Central Africa.

The Federal Ministry of Finance stated that the roundtable laid a strong foundation for the upcoming African Finance Ministers Annual Summit slated for Abuja.

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