African Union Chairperson, Moussa Mahamat, has advocated the creation of an enabling environment to boost businesses and attract private sector investments.
Mahamar who spoke at the official launch of the new Ecobank head office building, the Ecobank Pan-African Centre (EPAC), in Lagos, at the weekend, said the project is a demonstration of what could be achieved if the government creates an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Mahamar noted that active collaboration between the public and private sectors across Africa was critical to shared prosperity.
According to him, Africa has embarked on a path of strategic market opening and enlargement through the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a market of 1.3 billion people.
He said the process of countries’ wide economic integration involves the removal of tariffs and trade barriers as well as policy and regulation harmonization in the areas of investment, competition policy, digital trade, quality of infrastructure among others.
Mahamar, who was represented by the Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining, African Union Commission, Ambassador Albert Muchanga, said the Commission had also established a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) to create a single market for air transport in Africa.
According to him, the project has huge potential for growth and would become a platform for deepening economic integration once operational.
He said the financial sector across Africa would play a key role in all aspects of banking after the project. He assured that the Commission would position Africa to increase its share of global trade.
“Ecobank was born out of the idea among West African businesspeople who are determined to provide the African continent with a homegrown financial institution. It has shown exactly what can be achieved by the African private sector when they come together in genuine collaborative and joint efforts.
“Again, it has also shown that it is possible when government creates enabling environment for the private sector to thrive,” Mahamar said.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the state government had been proactive in creating an enabling environment for businesses through infrastructure development and encouraging foreign direct investment in the state.
He said the state had installed a 3,000-kilometre Fibre Metro Network connection within last year across the state as part of the comprehensive Smart City Programme aimed at providing a 24-hour driven economy.
According to him, the implementation of the Smart City Project is to enable governance, connectivity, and environmental security, saying that the use of technology would make reporting of security, health incidents easy to reach, and promote access to major stakeholders in the government.
Chairman, EcoBank Nigeria, Bola Adesola, said EPAC was part of the efforts of Ecobank’s founding fathers to create a world-class Pan-African group that provides innovative financial services across Africa.
Read original story on The Guardian