Nigeria to host 7th AU Finance Ministers’ Conference in March

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Nigeria is to host the seventh Joint AU/ECA Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance, Planning and Economic Development, between March 27 and April 1, 2014 in Abuja, an ECA statement said on Tuesday.

The statement issued in Addis Ababa stated that the Abuja conference, with the theme “Industrialisation for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Africa“, would articulate concrete proposals for the accelerated implementation of the Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA) document.

It said that the conference would seek to enhance commitment and actions towards the advancement of Africa’s industrial development agenda.

According to the statement, the industrialisation of Africa is essential as it offers alternative economic source outside the extractive and commodity-producing sectors.

“In turn, the capital intensive nature of the extractive sector and the limited inter sectorial linkages between the primary sector and other sectors of the economy, create limited opportunities for value chain development, value addition and job creation.

“Moreover, the primary sectors are characterised by low productivity and low wages which render employees vulnerable to poverty, “ the statement said.

It therefore added that the Abuja conference would build on the resolutions adopted at this year’s Joint Annual Session in Abidjan, which identified the need to address the challenges at national, regional, continental, and international levels.

The statement recalled that the member States had also called for coherent industrial policies and institutional linkages to improve policy implementation.

It identified other challenges facing Africa’s industrial development to include low productivity, poor competitive advantage in a globalised economy, lack of infrastructure and technological advancements.

It noted that reversing the status quo, especially in technology and infrastructure, would require “well thought out and planned strategies with adequate allocation of resources”.

The conference organised by the ECA, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Nigerian Government, would also be attended by Governors of Central Banks and key leaders from the private sector.

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