Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has urged African governments to work towards the elimination of non-tariff barriers in the region.
Adesina said this at the former opening of (AfDB) Annual Meeting, with the theme, “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity’’ in Malabo.
He said, “Pulling down non-tariff barriers alone will spur trade by at least 53 per cent and potentially double trade.
“The free movement of people and especially labour mobility are crucial for promoting investments.’’
He said that as part of efforts to accelerate investments and mobilise greater resources for Africa, the Bank supported by its partners inaugurated the Africa Investment Forum which held for the first time in Johannesburg in 2018.
Adesina said that the event attracted more than 2,000 participants and investors from 53 countries around the world.
According to him, regional integration is one of the Bank’s strategic High 5 agendas to rapidly advance Africa’s economic transformation.
The opening was attended by the Presidents of Equatorial Guinea, Mr. Obiang Mbasago; and Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. Felix Tshisekedi.
Also in attendance were King Letsie 111 of Lesotho, Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Eswatini, and High-level government officials from Rwanda, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Cote d’Ivoire.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion include governors of AfDB, Finance Ministers, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, members of Boards of Directors of AfDB, and partners.
The Equatorial Guinea president, while declaring open the meeting, recalled that his country was once ranked one of the poorest country in the world.
He said that the country has since been transformed with one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent.
“For me development is not about per capita income, it is about expanding opportunities for the people to live a more dignified life.”