Lagos, 27 August 2017 (ACBF) –The African Capacity Building Foundation, the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development, says countries across the continent need an effective and efficient integration to fast track their economic development. ACBF’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, made the declaration last week in a speech on the political, legal and legal imperatives of regional integration he gave at the annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos.
“We are better off with an integrated Africa with a larger market than a fragmented Africa,” said Prof. Nnadozie, adding that integration would also foster job creation and ensure a faster growth of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Responding to a suggestion that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s largest economy with about 180 million people and a GDP of more than $500 billion, could go it alone, he said the country would rather fare better in an integrated Africa.
“If you are selling to 180 million in Nigeria, you also want to be selling to one billion people in Africa,” he said, telling those in doubt to ask AlikoDangote, the richest man in Africa, and other businessmen and women who are doing business all over the continent.
Prof. Nnadozie made reference to the annual Africa Capacity Report released by ACBF in 2014 which shows that a lack of the capacity to implement protocols on integration and co-operation African leaders signed was a major drawback to the realization of the concept. Besides, the ad-hoc and reactive approach of countries and the overlapping membership of regional economic communities are equally to blame, he said.
According to the Executive Secretary, “the centrality of peace and security in driving integration can also not be overlooked.”He cited the Foundation and other pan African institutions like the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa as having the expertise to implement the concept, while fostering a spirit of “Africanness” would help to achieve the objective.
Other speakers on the topic, notably Prof. Sylvain Boko and Mr. AdeyinkaAdeyemi both of the ECA, re-echoed the arguments of ACBF’s Executive Secretary.