Abuja — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has urged African ministers of finance, planning and economic development to come up with economic policies that are inclusive and capable of carrying all their citizens along.
At the opening of the 2014 Joint African Union/United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development today in Abuja, he appealed to the ministers to work together to raise financing for regional infrastructure projects and also collaborate with their Trade and Industry counterparts to realize the continent's industrialization and trade integration.
"We must ensure that the social protection programmes we develop are financially sustainable and also reach the really deprived people who need our support," he said, pledging that "Nigeria will always support these regional initiatives for which much of the progress towards actualization will be driven by the Finance Ministers," he said.
Citing industrialization, domestic resource mobilisation, finance and monetary institutions as the critical issues to the realization of the continent's 50-year development plan and the post-2015 development agenda, Chairperson of the AU Nkosazana Zuma in her own remarks at the event called on the ministers to deal with the issues with the urgency they deserve.
She said given Africa's enormous resource potential, the continent has the means to invest in the acceleration of its development priorities and in the process "leverage and crowd in even greater funding and resources from our partners across the world," she said.
For his part, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, promised the global body's support for Africa's development efforts.
"Together with the international community, you can progressively build societies which allow all your people to live in peace, progress and dignity, he said. "While admitting that African countries have made considerable progress on education, Mr. Eliasson called for the strengthening of education at all levels if the continent is to meet the growing demands of both the public and private sector.
The Executive Secretary of ECA, Carlos Lopes, said the continent needs to see industrialization as a competitive business in which it has to find its own miracle recipe "if we want to become one of the factory floors of the world."
The theme of the five-day conference, which was preceded by a meeting of experts is 'industrialization for inclusive and transformative development in Africa.' Besides the finance, planning and economic development ministers, France's Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, as well as heads of many development partners are also in attendance.