The Deputy Governor in charge of Financial System Stability of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, has at anAfrican Program organised by the Wilson Center in Washington, DC yesterday, charged African countries on the need to move towards economic diversification and complexity as a way to ensure a better, more effective public policy and governance.
Speaking at event which was attended by Professor Mohammad Pate, former Minister of State for Health who recently resigned to take up a position of Professor in Duke University's Global Health Institute, USA, Ambassador Robins Sanders, former US Envoy to Nigeria, Mr. Steve McDonald, Director of the Africa Program and the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and many others, Dr. Moghalu added that African leaders must also manufacture the consent of their citizens to clear visions and strategies for economic transformation, and strengthen weak institutions.
At the presentation titled: Africa as the Last Frontier: Why it Matters in the Global Economy, the CBN top official while speaking on globalization, said that it was not neutral, stressing that African countries could not assume that globalization was benign in its intent or agnostic in its belief when a careful examination would show that the continent was mostly consumers of the product of globalization.
"So, how Africa engages with the phenomenon of globalization will play an important role in the continent's economic trajectory" he noted.
He pressed further that Africa would not matter economically until the countries from the continent became industrial, manufacturing economies rather than predominantly agricultural economies. His words: :For Africa to prosper, African countries need to develop a clear and comprehensive worldview. This is the essential philosophical foundation of prosperity, and the West and Asia provide important examples. Based on these perspectives, African countries need to re-evaluate commonly held assumptions about globalization, free markets, foreign investment and so forth if they are to prosper".
Dr. Moghalu described the phrase 'Africa as the Last Frontier' from the perspective of the expansion of the world economy to new poles of global economic growth nd transformation such as the BRICS countries and the Asian Tigers.
He added that the phrase could also mean Africa as a virgin new territory for conquest by the unflinching advance of globalization and global capital, operating mainly through international trade and foreign direct investment.
On why Africa matters to the world economy, the CBN Deputy Governor stated that the continent could matter as a source of extraction of raw materials and natural resources but not as a contributor to global prosperity through its own economic transformation.
Speaking further on that, Moghalu said that Africa should emulate the Asia by making itself matter as a growth pole in its own right, adding that with 3% of world trade and 5% of total global Foreign Direct Investment, the continent still plays a negligible role in the global economy.
In his own statement, Dr. Carl Levan, an Assistant Professor at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC, lauded the efforts of the Central Banks in Africa to make the continent matter to the global economy.
On agriculture, Dr. Levan urged leaders from Africa to intensify their efforts in the sector in order to eradicate hunger which he said had become a major challenge for the continent.