Premium Times (Abuja)

22 January 2014

Nigeria: Prioritise Inclusive Economic Growth, Jonathan Tells African Leaders

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said his administration is doing a lot to enhance inclusive growth in the country through policies that focus on wealth creation rather than poverty alleviation. The president also urged other African leaders to do same.

"Economic inclusion is very important and we are already taking necessary steps to improve financial inclusion in our country," the president said. "We are doing all that we can to transform agriculture in Nigeria into a much more productive and job creating sector. We are also working to create more inclusive wealth through better education, skills acquisition programmes and policies that encourage the addition of value to our primary products before exportation," the president said.

Mr. Jonathan, speaking during one of the televised debate sessions, charged African governments to prioritise inclusive economic growth on the continent to avoid problems associated with poverty and financial inequality.

The President said that with Africa's population projected to exceed two billion persons by 2050, wealth and job creation must be at the top of the continent's developmental agenda.

President Jonathan, President John Mahama of Ghana, businessman Aliko Dangote and other participants in the debate titled "Africa's Next Billion", agreed that achieving inclusive economic growth will be better served if African leaders took positive actions towards boosting intra-African trade. They said the current situation in which only 11 per cent of Africa's total trade takes place within the continent is unacceptable.

Mr. Jonathan said that African leaders must remove barriers to trade amongst African countries including inadequate air or land transportation links between the countries.

President Jonathan also said all stakeholders in the continent must work for security and political stability in order to achieve and sustain socio-economic development.

"Security and political stability are key to development. Investors will not come to any country that is insecure or politically unstable. Happily, many African countries now enjoy political stability. It is a major reason for the positive economic growth rates which we are now witnessing on the continent and we must continue do our best to maintain and expand the frontiers of political stability on our continent," the president said.

Advocating for economic growth through private sector investment in Africa, Mr. Jonathan said African governments must actively engage in instituting and implementing policies that will enable thriving businesses and wealth creation.

Speaking to journalists after the debate, Mr. Jonathan said that the World Economic Forum on Africa, which will take place in Abuja in May 2014, will provide a platform for exhibiting the great economic potentials of Nigeria and the West African sub-region to the world's leading investors and companies.

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