The President of the African Development Bank Group, Donald Kaberuka, on Tuesday in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to help boost regional trade through its Agricultural Transformation Agenda.
Mr. Kaberuka said this at the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit with the theme "Growing Agriculture as a Business to Diversify Nigeria's economy".
He said that if Nigeria was to succeed in its transformation agenda, especially in agriculture, it must start doing serious trade with its neighbours and Africa as a whole.
"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 consumer of our products.
"For this to become a reality, non-tariff restrictions within Africa should be removed. At present, people are not moving freely like they should, movement of goods is a problem. And that requires policy makers to make a decision," he said.
Mr. Kaberuka noted that ECOWAS was working to address the non-tariff restriction issue at present, with the help of the bank.
He said that in terms of infrastructure, the bank was 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.
"From power, to connectivity, to other systems and so on. It is shedding off two per cent of our GDP every year.
"For business like the ones by these farmers, if they do not have good infrastructure, probably that would add about 40 per cent to their farming cost.
"And so what we are doing at the bank is that we are concentrating 60 per cent of our funds to financing infrastructure projects, including cross border infrastructure," he said.
The president said that the bank was also working with 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 the Africa captured its own market.