Buhari: Africa’s Innovation Gap can only be solved by Africans



President Muhammadu Buhari has said African countries could survive the current economic and financial challenges with home-grown innovations.

President Buhari said on Thursday at the opening of the annual Assembly of Governors of the Association of African Central Banks in Abuja the prescriptions from the West tagged: “fit for all purposes” would not solve Africa’s economic and financial challenges.

President Buhari: “monetary policy alone is not sufficient to bring about desired economic growth.’’

“I am confident that you will come up with practical ways by which we can chart a way forward for the growth and development of Africa.

“The region is confronted with several global and domestic economic challenges.

“Most worrisome is the slowdown in growth; weakening global demand; rising inflation; restrictions in capital flows; rising debt levels; increased exchange rate volatility and depleting external reserves.”

He said that those of us who relied on only natural resources such as Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, and Mozambique have been hit the hardest.

“Furthermore, China, a major trade and business partner to a number of African countries is currently slowing down as it remodels its economy, sparking fears of further weakening.

“I urge you to continue to look for original home-grown solutions, not to rely on “fit for all purposes” prescriptions handed down from abroad.

“The world is a dynamic place and with innovation, we can survive.’’

President Buhari noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria had for many years spearheaded economic stimulus measures through specific intervention programmes.

He maintained that these measures should be sustained at all costs, while urging the participants to strike a balance between monetary and fiscal policy measures.

He said, “monetary policy alone is not sufficient to bring about desired economic growth.’’

President Buhari reiterated his administration’s determination to diversify the economy so as to surmount the challenges facing the country.

“Consequently, we are taking measures and implementing policies that would ensure we are self-sufficient, generate massive employment for millions of our youth, and explore our untapped human and natural resources.

“We shall also embark on export and production diversification steps including investment in infrastructure; promotion of manufacturing through agro-based industries and expansion of Regional Trade.

“All these would involve integrating the informal economy into the mainstream and providing funds to Small and Medium Enterprises.”

He said we shall continue, with greater determination and focus, to pursue our goal of ensuring improved security for our country and its citizens, and without letting up on our fight against corruption and terrorism.

President Buhari also advised that African leaders should reverse the trend of illicit flows of funds out of Africa through intensified surveillance in addition to guidance to the operations of their various financial institutions.

“We should all be serious in putting place measures aimed at ensuring that the proceeds of these illicit flows are repatriated to their countries of origin with minimal bureaucratic hitches.

In his remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, assured that the Association would redouble its
efforts towards the achievement of a sustainable economic and monetary integration in Africa.

He stressed the need for African Central Banks to be strengthened so as to serve as a platform for galvanising efforts that will solve emerging challenges on the continent.

Also speaking, the President, Association of African Central Banks, Mr Lucas Nchama, called for proactive policies that will address the negative effects of the fall in prices of major commodities on the economies of African countries.

No fewer than 45 governors of Central Banks and the representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Africa Union were in attendance.

The theme of the meeting is; “Unwinding Unconventional Monetary Policies and Financial stability in Africa.’’

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