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Nigerian Central Bank Governor Calls for Greater Industrialization on the Continent

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The Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, has urged Africans to pursue greater industrialization as there is no region that can attain greatness without a solid industrial base. Mr. Sanusi made the statement on Thursday, October 28, 2010, in Tunis, Tunisia, in a keynote address delivered within the framework of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group's African Economic Conference that took place from October 27-29 in the Tunisian capital.

"It is important that the industrialization of African economies be accorded high priority. This is because there is no region that can attain greatness without a solid industrial base. Industrialization will enahance diversification of the economic base of Africa away from primary commodity exports," he said, stressing that "There is need to intensify diversification, both within the commodity sector into the production of non-traditional items with growing markets, or into further processing of commodities and in manufacturing and service activities."

He called for greater emphasis on the promotion of the agricultural, industrial and information and communication technology activities value chain.

He pointed out that the Nigerian central bank had taken some initiatives to drive activities that would spur the economy's growth process.

Also speaking about the global financial crisis, Mr. Sanusi said that to reduce the adverse effects of the global financial crisis and dependence on external funding, African countries must develop and implement sound macroeconomic policies to ensure strong and stable eocnomies. He pointed out that the policy package should have flexible fiscal and monetary policies that would promote job-creation and sustainable growth.

Improving the efficiency of public finances is desirable to cushion the declining growth trend in the region, he said, stressing that " We also need to focus on the labour market and social safety nets to mitigate the effects of unemployment."

He called on multilateral institutions to have a clear message on the role of the private sector in operationally managing  the crisis with them as partners. "While business cannot eradicate poverty, poverty will never be eradicated without business or sufficient jobs created in a sustainable way," he said.

He added that "Financial markets all over the world are known to have inherently high transaction costs which tend to exclude the poor. Empirical studies in many countries have shown that poor people use a combination of formal and informal, market and non-market financial products depending on their needs and access."

The Nigerian central bank governor stressed that "the challenge for African governments is not only to creatively fashion policies that would promote financial inclusiveness, particularly for the poor, but also to ensure that undue instability is not triggered in the financial system.  

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