Africa’s development agenda must focus on the socio-cultural and
commercial interests of Africans and the upliftment of Africa’s trade and
economic ecosystem, said Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and a
former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, during his address at the 2018
Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group
(https://am.AfDB.org/en) in Busan, Korea.
“Africa’s economic transformation will be best achieved through
fast-tracking regional cooperation and the execution of hard-nosed
structural reforms that focus on the development of the continent’s human
capital and material resources,” said Emir Sanusi II.
The Emir shared insight about revamping African regional integration,
trade and economic relations with Executive Directors and Governors of the
Bank, comprising Finance, Budget and Economic Planning Ministers from
An economist and financial risk expert, the monarch traced Africa’s
post-colonial economic woes to the continent’s fiscal indiscipline and
endemic disregard for its competitive advantages. For these reasons, he
asserted, Africa’s development was stunted and its global trade ties
lopsided in favour of offshore trading partners.
“Nine out of every 10 countries in Africa have huge trade deficits with
China, but Asia developed mostly on domestic investments and resources,”
he noted, underscoring the need for African Governments to invest in and
promote creativity and indigenous enterprise.
The Emir advocated a series of structural reforms, including strategic
investments in key sectors including agriculture, infrastructure,
education, and small and medium enterprises. He called for deliberate
industrial diversification noting that China has begun to move its
mega-sized manufacturing capabilities out of low-cost industries.
African Governments also need to eradicate constitutional provisions and
structures that increase the cost of governance at national and
sub-national levels, manage demographic growth, and revamp and harmonize
moribund and ineffective customs and excise duties that promote
cross-border smuggling and revenue losses to governments, he said.
Africa’s debt burden continues to inhibit capital investment in
industrialization, he observed, lamenting the misallocation of resources:
“We need to begin to ask ourselves, ‘what do we do with the available
funds in our coffers?’”
“Perceptions matter. So there is an urgent need for improved transparency,
as this is clearly linked to good governance,” he said. “We need to accept
that we have a perception problem that we must address. We need to tackle
corruption, block leakages and create opportunities for new jobs.”
“Private sector capital is crucial for sustained economic growth but so is
government’s intervention in guaranteeing business externalities like
power, water and waste management, roads, housing and the legal and
regulatory environment for innovation, commerce and industry.”
On trade, the Emir called for a regional and pan-African approach to trade
negotiations, a tactical model which should be led by the Bank.
“The African Development Bank has the intellectual resources and clearly
is better positioned to negotiate with China on behalf of Africa as a bloc
of nations,” he said. “Europe approached global trade as a bloc so why
can’t African nations do the same? This is clearly another area in urgent
need of the Bank’s intervention.”
President Adesina recalled the Emir’s progressive posture during his time
in public service. “As Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi
Lamido Sanusi was pro-development. He channeled significant investments
into agriculture, infrastructure and SMEs.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).