African leaders urged to mobilise domestic resources to support investment, export

Africa faces an urgent need to develop mechanisms to mobilize domestic resources to support investment and development of export and trade-related infrastructure, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) President, has said.

In a statement yesterday, Jean-Louis Ekra was reported as saying this at the opening of three-day seminar and meeting of the Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa in Lusaka.

The seminar is being held as part of activities leading to the 22nd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of Afreximbank.

He told the audience that Africa faced a growing and worrying phenomenon of massive outflows of resources from African countries.

He said the seminar theme, “African Direct Investment as a Source of Long-Term Finance for Export Diversification and Development in Africa”, was in recognition of that need.

He said the thrust towards domestic resource mobilisation resonated with Afreximbank’s role as a pan-African institution created to tackle African trade development challenges and identify opportunities.

Governor of the Bank of Zambia, Dr Denny Kalyalya said that promoting direct investment by enterprises and institutions across Africa would provide long-term finance for export diversification.

According to him, foreign direct investment from outside the continent should, in that regard, complement African direct investment for a greater development impact.

Kalyala noted that while Africa had been among the world’s fastest-growing regions over the past decade, it had been faced with a reality when prices of oil and other commodities declined sharply last year.

He said this was so because Africa had continued to depend excessively on natural resources.

Prof. LeonceNdikumana of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst said the policy questions that should be addressed included determining how to incentivise African banking systems to become more development oriented.

He spoke on “Mobilising African Resources for Export Diversification and Development”.

Ndikumana said the system should be supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship and how to leverage African sovereign wealth funds.

The system should know how to better leverage the potential of national and regional development banks; and how to combat capital flight, he said.

Justin Lin, former Chief Economist at the World Bank, said that Africa’s poor development performance was due to government development and transition policies being shaped by inadequate ideas.

Lin, a professor at the National School of Development, Peking University, China, said with the right ideas, African countries could grow as dynamically as other successful economies.

He explained that a developing country could grow and become a middle or high-income country if it exploited latecomer advantages.

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