Economies in sub-region need accurate data for effective planning
.Human capital, technology imperative for rapid growth
By Udeme Clement
A cross section of participants at the workshop in Abuja:
“Governments in the West African sub-region have been advised to build good statistical infrastructure for accurate data needed for economic planning. The region should invest in development of youths in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM. This is important, if sustainable growth and development of the region must be achieved”.
This formed part of the communique issued at the end of the ‘Strategic workshop on money market reporting for financial analysts’, organised by West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, WAIFEM, in collaboration with Centre for Financial Journalism, CFJ and sponsored by African Capacity Building Foundation, ACBF, from June 12 -16, 2018, in Abuja.
The document stated, “The region must develop its human capital and adopt modern technology capable of driving productivity in diverse sectors of the regional economy. West African economies can develop with effective private sector participation. Therefore, the federal as well as sub-national governments must provide infrastructure and enabling environment for economic activities to thrive.
From Left: Kanie Ceesay, Central Bank of the Gambia, Mr. Alex Ekemenah, Next-Money, Uduak-Obong Inam, University of Uyo and Marline Cooper, Director, Access to Market, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Republic of Liberia, at the workshop, in Abuja:
“West African Nations should prioritise inter-trade, production as it relates to manufacturing to avoid dependency on foreign aid. If we must accept foreign aid, our leaders should determine the terms and conditions that will improve the standards and capacity of the citizens. These nations should strengthen their manufacturing sectors to produce more, rather than being just consuming nations. We should ensure tangible investment in non-oil export sectors and discourage excessive importation, in order to improve the value of local currencies in the region.
“This implies that governments in the sub-region should be committed to building strong institutions, in order to enhance sustainable growth”.
Specific observations highlighted in the communique were, “The West African sub-region is characterised by very weak and highly undeveloped institutions. This has hampered growth and development process of the region. Lack of synergy, cooperation and coordination of government ministries, departments and agencies is a threat to the successful implementation of government plans and projects within the region.
“Despite the development plans of successive governments in the region, government officials and the political class lack the political will and sincerity to drive government plans and projects to full implementation for the benefit of the citizenry.
“The lack of basic infrastructure poses serious challenges to the ease of doing business and eventual competitiveness of products from the region.
“Income inequality is still a topical issue in the region. Unfortunately, rather than help to redistribute income, most government policies in the region serve to further widen the gap between the poor and the rich. For instance, the use of subsidies as currently practiced in diverse sectors of the region, especially the petroleum sector, makes the poor masses to pay more for a unit of item than the few rich”.
Topics covered at the workshop include the ‘national economy, the sub-regional economy, the world economy, macroeconomy, economic terms and meaning. Others were
‘the money market, regulators of the money market, operators in the money market, monetary policy,
development financing, banks and financial intermediation, money market instruments, recent trends in money market, money market reporting and adhering to rules and ethics’.
The course attended by 25 participants was facilitated by experienced and knowledgeable Resource Persons from relevant institutions.