African governments urged to adopt common regional, continental strategic approaches to address economic challenges
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has urged African governments to collaborate and implement a common strategy toward mitigating the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
He noted that adopting a common continental approach would help to reduce dependency on donor support and become self-sufficient.
“This will help us exploit the synergies that exist in our countries and speed up integration into globalised economy,” Dr Bawumia emphasised.
Vice President Bawumia gave the advice when delivering a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 22nd Annual General Meeting of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) in Accra on Thursday.
He pointed out that the structure of the global economy was changing due to the pandemic, therefore, countries and continents needed to focus on internal ways of addressing socio-economic challenges and better the lots of their citizens.
The ATI was created by the African governments in 2002 to enhance the competitiveness of African countries and move them towards self-reliance.
The multilateral organisation, comprising more than 20 African countries, compliment the efforts of African governments in sustaining growth and navigating economic shocks.
“Regional economic integration will not only help our countries access the expanded regional market within but will also facilitate global competitiveness,” he added.
The Vice President underscored the for Africa to play an increasing role in the global economy to maximize the opportunities available in the interconnected world economy.
Dr Bawumia observed that the world’s economy had been grappling with a series of economic shocks and uncertainty in the last decade – from the economic recession of 2008-2009 to the commodity crisis in 2014/2015, then to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and now the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“The present difficulties were already reversing the modest gains made so far, and we need greater cooperation to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement Area (AfCFTA) and other initiatives,” he said.
“The cumulative impacts of this pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have been quite severe and are threatening to roll back the economic gains of Africa, with the continent’s real GDP for 2022 expected to decelerate to 4.1 per cent according to the AfDB’s African Economic Outlook report.
“This is significantly lower than the 2021 growth rate of 7.1 per cent,” he noted.
He pointed out that the pandemic and the conflict had equally disrupted the supply chain of traded commodities including fertilizers, which were largely sourced from Russia, causing prices of oil and commodities such as fertilizer.
Mr Manuel Moses, the Chief Executive Officer of ATI, in an address, said the Organisation accrued growth in both its top line and bottom line positions in 2021, with Gross Underwriting registering strong growth at $143.5 million, representing an increase of 14 per cent, compared to the previous year.
He said Underwriting Profitability increased by 11 per cent from $29.8 million in 2020 to $33 million in 2021.
Gross Exposures which reflected absolute contract values of insurance cover issued increased from $6.3 billion in 2020 to $6.6 billion as of the end of 2021, he added.