Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, during a High-Level Policy and Private Sector Trade and Investment Facilitation Forum in Abuja on Thursday, predicted a thriving growth of the African economy to reach$1.4 trillion by 2020, with consumer spending expected to be a major contributor.
The gathering of international business moguls and policy makers was jointly hosted by Nigeria, ECOWAS Commission in partnership with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD).
The parley has in attendance, several trade and investment ministers from African countries for the two-day event.
Osinbajo said, in spite of Africa having the youngest population, bearing the brunt of security challenges, climate change and facing difficulty in the environment, its economy is better than before with GDP that averaged 2.2 per cent in 2016, estimated to rise to 3.4 per cent this year and 24.3 percent by 2036.
He said 12 African countries have grown at over 5 per cent, driven largely by the non-oil economy, with Ivory Coast at 8.2 per cent, Tanzania 8 percent and Senegal 6.7 per cent being the major gainers.
In addition, Osinbajo said with Africa emerging the second fastest growing destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the expected investment inflow into the continent by the end of the year is $57.5 billion, currently, the FDI into the continent for 2016 stands at $56.5 billion.
According to him, good governance has inspired African economies to perform better than global average enabled by macroeconomic stability, large markets and widening domestic demands among others
“For Africa to maximise the benefits, African countries must embrace the importance of trade and investment in economic development all over the world. There is also the need for poor infrastructure that has impacted on the low capacity building to be addressed by various leaders to ensure that trade and investments take the centre stage in the economic development of the continent,” Osinbajo said.
He offered the assurance that the federal government intends to implement the decisions reached by stakeholders at the Abuja global business parley.
Nigeria’s Minister of Trade Industry and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, stated that Africa’s total investment requirements for infrastructure is estimated by the World Bank at $120 to $150 billion per annum.
Enelamah said the gap between infrastructure investment requirements and available financial resources at about $60 to $80 billion yearly should not be taken for granted.
The United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD estimated that Nigeria and all African countries require as much $2.5 trillion yearly both domestic and foreign and investment to attain the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mukhisa Kituyi, called for improved trade and investment among African countries and the lowering of tariffs among them for economic facilitation.
Meanwhile, the WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevedo, said infrastructure is key to trade and investment facilitation.
Azevedo also lauded Nigeria for showing strong leadership in Africa.