Value Addition To Africa's Natural Resources Crucial
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has underlined the need for African countries to add value to their natural resources before export to generate revenue for infrastructural development and to meet the expectations of their people.
He said the old paradigm of natural resource exploitation and exports of raw agricultural products and raw minerals were not sufficient to grow their economies, create job opportunities and provide basic public services.
''The old model of relying on revenue from the export of unprocessed natural resources was no longer fit for purpose, and the time has come to introduce a new one, designed to meet our development challenges,'' he said,
Vice President Bawumia said this at the launch of the 2018 Regional Economic Outlook for the Sub-Saharan Africa in Accra on Tuesday.
The meeting organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance was on the theme: 'Domestic Revenue Mobilisation and Private Investment'.
The launch attracted high profile dignitaries including Mr Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director, African Department of the IMF; Annalisa Fedelino, Mission Chief for Ghana, Natalia Koliadina, the IMF Resident Representative in Ghana; Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, as well as the First and Second Deputy Governors of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari and Mrs Elsie Awadzi.
The Regional Economic Outlook document calls attention to the global economic growth, sluggish growth recovery in the sub-region, the relative higher commodity prices and the need for improved market accessibility.
Vice President Bawumia underscored the need to re-examine the natural resource control and governance strategy in order to build prosperous economies.
Madam Natalia Koliadina, Resident Representative of the IMF, in her welcoming address, said the Economic Outlook focused on domestic revenue mobilisation and private investment that were essential for accelerating economic growth in the sub-region.
She commended the Government of Ghana for implementing policies that are aimed at ensuring sustainable growth and macroeconomic stability.
She expressed optimism that Ghana would be a model of success in the sub-region, which other countries would look up and emulate.
Madam Koliadina observed that rising debt stock was the key challenge facing nations in the sub-region and, thus, called for measures to reduce debt vulnerabilities for sustainable growth.
Mr Abebe Aemro Selassie, the Director, African Department of the IMF, presenting the highlight of the Regional Economic Outlook, said the sub-region witnessed sustained economic growth in the mid-1970s to 1990s where majority of the countries registered strong growth outcomes.
The 20-year period of sustainable growth, he said, was supported by improved economic policies, stable commodity exports and increased trade and investment flows.
However, he said, the rising incomes for the sub-region stalled in 2015 largely due to trade shocks following the decline in export commodities and cited, for instance, the declining crude oil prices on the world market that had dire consequences on oil exporting nations.
Mr Selassie said 23 resource-exporting countries in the sub-region held two-thirds of the total population, therefore, it was imperative for trade collaborate to accelerate growth.
He said debt vulnerability was rising in many sub-regional countries and, therefore, called for urgent steps to achieve macroeconomic stability, strengthening revenue mobilisation drive and create fiscal space for the much needed investments.
By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA