Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, on Tuesday emerged the Chairperson, Board of Governors of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, EBID.
Mrs. Adeosun’s emergence came at the end of the 15th Ordinary Meeting of the board of governors of the bank in Abuja.
She succeeds her counterpart from the Republic of Niger, Hassoumi Massoudou.
At the opening session of the meeting, Mrs. Adeosun proffered ways the 15-member countries of ECOWAS could promote regional integration and inclusive development in the sub-region.
These include embracing a new development model that promotes inclusive economic growth; radical economic transformation to better the lives of all citizens in the region, and prioritising industrialisation, especially through labour intensive manufacturing to promote job creation for citizens.
Others include conscious emphasis on agriculture to improve food security; boosting the ocean economy in the region and deliberate effort to promote regional integration among member countries.
The meeting, which was declared open by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was attended by the ministers of finance and members of the board of the banks from Benin, Burkina Faso, Capo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Mrs. Adeosun noted that past economic growth in the region was not inclusive and called for a new model that would ensure opportunities are shared and enjoyed by more citizens.
The minister, who observed that the ECOWAS’ vision for economic development was facing challenges, said the meeting was a good opportunity to discuss the various issues and come to a consensus on the way forward.
She urged her counterparts in the region to endeavour to speak about radical economic transformation of their economies to guarantee better life for all citizens in the region.
Besides, she said, prioritising industrialisation and agricultural development would promote job creation as well as ensure improved food security.
“Potentially, these areas also provide investors with profitable investment opportunities in our community.
Equally critical is the work that is being done to promote regional integration in our sub-region,” she stated.
Mrs. Adeosun cited the example of Nigeria, which she pointed out was already making efforts to radically transform her economy, by attempting to shift emphasis away from oil as the main source of revenue.
“Diversification and domestic resource mobilisation through improved tax revenue are therefore ongoing,” she said.
If adopted, she said diversification policy would have significant impact on the regional economy.
Again, she emphasised the need for infrastructure development, pointing out that it remained top on the agenda to ease movement of goods, people and services across the region.
She said generation of power would not only light up Africa, but would also enhance industrialisation.
Mrs. Adeosun used the occasion to underscore the significance of finance, arguing that for the region to realise its vision, member countries would need to mobilise appropriate domestic and external financial resources to support EBID and strengthen developmental partnerships and collaborations.
The EBID is a financial institution established by member states of the ECOWAS with headquarters in Lome, Togolese Republic.
The Bank was established to promote private sector and development of the public sector and contribute to the economic development of West Africa through the financing of projects and programmes, particularly those related to transport, energy, telecommunications, industry, poverty alleviation, the environment and natural resources.