Nigeria and other African countries must consistently maintain a seven per cent growth rate for the next four to five decades to eradicate poverty and reach high-income status.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group president, Akinwumi Adesina, said this while speaking on the Key Action to Achieving Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa at the ongoing 2023 AfDB Annual Meetings in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
According to him, the need for accelerating growth to improve living standards and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) and the African Union Agenda 2023 is clear.
Mr Adesina said although achieving this goal might be difficult, it was possible for the continent.
On the AfDB outlook report, he said the average gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the continent slowed from 4.8 per cent in 2021 to 3.8 per cent in 2022.
“And this decline is across the board. 31 out of 54 countries in Africa hosted weaker growth rate in 2022 relative to the previous year. However, we anticipate growth increase to four per cent in 2023 and to accelerate further to 4.3 per cent in 2024. Yet we must recognise the fluctuation in growth that has defined our parts,” explained the AfDB president.
Mr Adesina recalled that some countries experienced a remarkable growth rate only to fall back during challenging times, stating that we must learn from this to ensure sustained growth and prosperity.
“We acknowledge that our continent had its share of difficulties, growth stagnation, decline and even catastrophic growth, and these statistics remind us of the work that still needs to be done,” he stressed. “We face an increasingly complex and uncertain world. Health, finance, social-economic and environmental shocks threaten our progress towards the UN SDGs, AU Agenda 2063 and all development goals high-five priorities.”
Mr Adesina also mentioned that the challenges of COVID-19, conflict and climate change exposed the vulnerability of our health system and the fragility of Africa’s growth pillars.
“Especially our high dependency on commodity exports and external finance including debt, remittances, foreign direct investment and development assistance,” noted the AfDB boss.
On implementing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr Adesina said it would be a game changer because it could increase trade by 52 per cent.
He urged economies on the continent to harness the natural resources which Africa was endowed with as it could generate significant returns, drive the youth and foster job creation.
Adesina said the studies served as a vital road map to guide Africa towards the future where each African nation could achieve an annual GDP growth rate of seven to 10 per cent over the next 40 years.