This was contained in a statement by the Nigeria Country Office of the bank issued on Thursday in Abuja, and made available to journalists.
The statement said the AfDB President, Dr. Donald Keberuka, and business mogul Aliko Dangote alongside two African leaders had pressed for the initiative at the ongoing World Economic Summit in Abuja.
The statement, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), named the two African leaders as President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. It said the initiative was a call to action for regional integration to promote travels across the continent by easing visa constraints.
It quoted Kaberuka as saying that “the African Development Bank strongly supports the initiative, as a key component of its commitment to enhancing regional integration across Africa”.
According to the statement, easing visa constraints and removing other unnecessary barriers would contribute to boosting the continent’s economies.
“True integration will take place only if people are able to move freely across the continent, and leaders need to take action to make this happen,” it added.
It quoted Kenyatta as stating that lack of political will and negative perception should not be allowed to undermine Africa’s integration and economic growth.
The statement also quoted AfDB Chief Economist, Mthuli Ncube, as saying that Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa should synergise and drive inclusive growth in the continent.
According to the statement, Ncube spoke as a panelist on the topic: “Driving Competitiveness through Cooperation, Integration and Economic Growth”. Ncube said if the three countries could work together, it would dramatically reduce the average poverty rate in the Africa region.