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Nigeria, other African nations’ finances to worsen with increasing population: Emefiele

“Our future depends on strengthening Africa’s capacity to finance our own growth. Yet Africa’s financing needs are growing and will only get bigger as our population expands.”

• May 13, 2022
CBN Godwin Emefiele (credit: Bloomberg)
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele (credit: Bloomberg)

Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says Africa needs to finance her own growth.

“Our future depends on strengthening Africa’s capacity to finance our own growth. Yet Africa’s financing needs are growing and will only get bigger as our population expands,” he warned.
Mr Emefiele said this at the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) Live Infrastructure Solutions Summit held in Abuja on Thursday.

He disclosed that over the past two years, Africa had suffered crises each with profound implications for the economies of the continent.

Mr Emefiele, represented by his deputy and board chairman of AFC, Kingsley Obiora, said the COVID-19 crisis with its lockdown triggered recession in most parts of the world and that the crisis injected a fresh urgency for Africa’s rise in self-reliance on the manufacturing and processing of essential products.

He noted that the crisis in Ukraine also had economic implications on Africa.

“Clearly, amid challenges of inflation, economic growth, conflict and food and energy shortages, we are also at a reflection point today to shift the course of history for decades to come,” stressed Mr Emefiele. “Africa must seize the opportunity. We owe it to our children and future generations. So what is the right path ahead? As CBN governor, the path begins with finance.”

According to him, the key is in unlocking new sources of funding, both domestic and international.

“They are locked in pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, and mutual funds. We are limited only by our ability to reduce risks for investors and find simple, steady and creditable competitive returns,” the CBN chief added.

He further mentioned that over the years, the apex bank had played a leading role in investment and resource mobilisation, such as what had been achieved by the AFC.

Mr Emefiele also stated that CBN deployed an initial $500 million in investment in AFC, 15 years on, the cooperation had a balance sheet of over $10 billion in investment in 35 countries.

He recalled that in 2021, the CBN and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority under Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria.

He described it as a world-class infrastructure development vehicle focused on tackling Nigeria’s $100 billion annual infrastructure needs.

Mr Emefiele added that the AFC’s core mission was to help Africa close its infrastructure deficit, create prosperity and jobs for the youths and for overcoming historical development challenges, once and for all.

“Climate considerations are an inextricable part of AFC’s approach, from building infrastructure that will be resilient against extreme weather to developing ecosystems that can focus on the industries of the future in electric vehicles and renewable energy,” explained the CBN governor. “At the same time, AFC is determined to include the energy deficit that stiffens Africa’s development and opportunities.”

He also mentioned that in addition to renewable energy, natural gas must be a fundamental part of Africa’s policy response to the energy challenges.

“We are operating in an ever complex, challenging and competitive global economic environment. We all have a role to play in raising funding from both domestic sources and international funding and making sure we are deploying this capital effectively and at speed to support double-digit growth,” stated Mr Emefiele.

He added, “When investors look at projects in Africa, they should suffer from fear of missing out. Missing out on investment returns and missing out on creating a bigger social and environmentally positive impact that can be attained anywhere possible.”

The CBN governor called on African governments, central banks, corporate leaders and investors to rally together and be bolder in “our ambitions and support our continental champions and institutions” like the AFC, urging them to be bold in “our ambitions, steadfast and urgent in our execution.”


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