The African Development Bank (AfDB) has disclosed that Nigeria is the largest contributor to West Africa’s wealth creation. The country makes about 75% contribution to regional Gross Domestic Product.
This was revealed by Mr. Ebrima Faal, the bank’s Senior Director for Nigeria who gave an interview to newsmen at the ongoing Annual Meetings of the bank in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The annual gathering avails experts, businesses, think-tanks, civil society groups, governments, and the academia the opportunities to share their unpretentious assessments of regional integration efforts. They also use the occasion to chart a new course on critical issues regarding the development of Africa. This year’s theme is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity”.
According to Faal, Nigeria’s trade policy is anchored on the Economic Community of West African States, as it maintains the coordinating role it plays in the region through the public sector and its active private sector.
Free Trade: On Nigeria’s attempt to integrate trade in West Africa, Faal stated that the country had performed relatively well in terms of free movement of goods and people, through the ratification of relevant ECOWAS instruments bordering on the free movement of persons, workers, and rights of establishments.
He further disclosed that Nigeria allows citizens who possess the valid travel documents from all other ECOWAS countries to enter its borders visa-free. However, the country had ceaselessly made strides in trade integration with various attempts to unify documentation and simplify processes that will enable free flow of trade across its borders.
“Nigeria has an active Export Promotion Council (NEPC), which champions implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the main operational tool for promoting Free Trade in West Africa. However, there is still much to be done on the integration of its productive value chains, especially in the areas of agriculture and the manufacturing sector for exports.”
Collaboration with Ebonyi State: In the meantime, AfDB will collaborate with the Ebonyi State Government on the $70 million Ebonyi Ring Road project. The regional road project was approved by the Federal Executive Council in April 2019.
Faal emphasized that the road would open up the state for trade with Cameroon and other close neighbours. This is because the road crosses through the Enugu-Bamenda road corridor at two points, thus providing the residents in the zone easier access into Cameroon and other neighbouring states.
Bottom line: Mr Faal stated that the development bank would maintain its focus on improving the institutional framework for the management of projects in the region through capacity support.