Thursday, 26 February 2015

Economic Integration to Spur Nigeria, Others' Growth, Says WAIFEM Boss.

Director General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Prof. Akpan Ekpo
Director General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Prof. Akpan Ekpo has said ongoing plan to achieve economic integration in Africa will enhance economic growth in the continent.

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.
"We (West Africa) have made tremendous progress over the years, despite some challenges and also learning from the experience of Europe. In our region, ECOWAS has set a date of 2020 as the date we must get either full or partial integration.

"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.
"It is also to give them the methodology that we use to predict what happens in the economy. So, that is the major use of this course. Capacity building is very important and should be a continuous process because the world is changing, methods are changing and central bank itself is changing. So the central bank as the regulator has to be ahead of events in the banking sector. We have been partnering with the CBN over the years in terms of capacity building," he added.


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