Inclusive Growth: AfDB Wants Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya to Synergise

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has advocated appropriate synergies between Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya to engender an economic growth that is inclusive in the region.
 
By the recent GDP rebasing, Nigeria is currently Africa’s largest economy as well as the dominant economy in the West Africa sub-region, while South Africa is the continent’s second largest and the biggest in the Southern Africa sub-region, just as Kenya is the biggest economy in East Africa.
 
AfDB’s Chief Economist, Prof. Mthuli Ncube, who was a panelist on "Driving Competitiveness through Cooperation, Integration and Economic Growth" at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, in Abuja yesterday, said the region’s growth was positive, regretting however that this had been blighted by inequalities.
 
According to him, appropriate synergies between Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa would help to drive down the present average poverty rate of 48 per cent in the region.
 
"These three economies— Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, when they come up, must inter-tie and must work together to drive African Economy," he said, adding  that the informal sector of the economy where the small businesses are high should be supported.
 
In his remark, the Chairman, KMPG Global Africa Practice, Mr. Seyi Bickersteth, said effort must be focused on improving an intra African trade at 12 per cent presently, adding: "For us to have a positive growth, we need to integrate, get rid of the guys in borders to reduce cost and time of business and movement.”
 
Border checks, he said, remained a major hindrance to free movement of goods in the region, even as he pointed out that the energy challenge was another problem that should be addressed headlong to help businesses that have the potential of creating jobs and driving down inequality.
 
Bickersteth applauded Nigeria’s policy of privatising its  energy sector as a step in the right direction, arguing that private sector participation was critical to propel the sector.
 
According to him, private sector participation would drive different market forces as well as help reduce corruption.
 
"Our political leaders have to step down their egos and provide enabling environment for private sector to play a major role," he said.
 
In his contribution, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Business Unity, South Africa, Also, Cas Coovadia,  said there was no reason why the three economies of Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya should not integrate, stressing that Nigeria’s hosting of the WEF was a great opportunity.
 
He said that leaders should copy initiatives that had worked positively in individual economies and replicate to bring positive economic growth.
 
While calling for the efficient and effective management of the large natural resource deposits in the region and the intensification of the fight against corruption in many African countries, Coovadia said: "We need efficient private sector participation, enhanced infrastructure and ensure accountability.”
 
“The opportunity is there, Nigeria has huge business sector, we need to get together and see how to drive the economy of Africa to create jobs," he said, and called for an improved education sector.
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