|Director General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Prof. Akpan Ekpo|
Ekpo said this in an interview with THISDAY on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a three weeks course on economic analysis, monetary policy and financial management for staff numbers of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Lagos.
According to Ekpo, economic integration is very important because it would bring about a larger market for Africa.
"For Africa, it means if we have regional integration, as a bloc we can deal with other blocs. In Africa, we have regional integration. West Africa has its own, so does South, East and North Africa and each of them is making progress towards an eventual African integration, an African Economic Union or Monetary Union," he said.
He however pointed out that in West Africa, a lot of progress has been made towards integrating economies in the sub-region.
"I have always argued that achieving economic integration is more of a political decision. Once the politicians decide to integrate, the economies would adjust. That is why we say there is need to increase the level of trade in the region first. But even if the level of trade increases, it still has to be a political decision," the don added.
Speaking on the training, Ekpo said it was meant to upgrade skills of the senior officials at the central bank that work in the research, statistics and monetary policy departments in terms of economic analysis, econometric modelling and in terms of financial management so that they can better appreciate how to manage the Nigerian economy.