08 September 2013, Tunis – On the invitation of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Donald Kaberuka, on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, attended the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit as a special guest and panelist in the Presidential Roundtable Discussions moderated by the BBC.
At the summit, which had as its theme “Growing Agriculture as a Business to Diversify Nigeria’s Economy”, Kaberuka urged the Federal Government to help boost regional trade through its Agricultural Transformation Agenda.
According to the Bank President, “sometimes, we think that the global market is somewhere else; but it is next door – in Benin, Togo, Cameroon, and across all African countries. Within Africa, we have the solution to our problems. Nigeria alone has 20 per cent of the population in Africa. By the year 2050, Africa will represent 20 per cent of the population of the world. The markets are here. By 2050, there will be two billion persons on the continent, more than China, more than India. And we would want them to be consumers of our products.”
Kaberuka noted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with the help of the African Development Bank, is working to address the non-tariff restriction in order to facilitate regional trade. And in terms of infrastructure, the Bank is working to ensure the completion of the Nigeria-Cameroon Highway, which would boost trade between the two countries.
“With the rate at which most African economies are growing, at six per cent GDP, my conviction is that we shall not be able to sustain this growth until we solve the issue of infrastructure. And so the Bank is channeling 60 per cent of its funds to financing infrastructure projects, including cross-border infrastructure.”
The AfDB President also mentioned that the Bank is currently supporting the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to build agricultural infrastructure that would cut across all regions of the country.
He urged all stakeholders to work together, to ensure that Africa captures its own market.