By Peter Egwuatu
Nigeria and other African countries need increased trans-regional trade to fast-track economic development and create more jobs. Top executives of Standard Bank Group made this observation yesterday while speaking at the bank’s trans-regional trade conference held in Lagos.
Speaking at the conference, Chief Executive Africa, Standard Bank Group, Olusola David-Borha, said: “Trade across Africa is very important to Nigeria’s development. Nigerians and Africa as a whole are traders. So trading among themselves is quite beneficial and the easiest way to grow economically”
Also speaking, Chief Executive, Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank, Zweli Manyathi, noted that regional trade, on the average, accounts for about 50 percent of most regions’ trade flows. He explained that in Asia the world’s fastest growing region – regional trade accounts for up to 70 percent of some countries’ trade flows, adding that since intra-regional trade in Africa currently accounts for only 12 percent of trade flows, Standard Bank has identified the rapid promotion of continental trade as a key priority in achieving the kind of growth that will transform the lives of ordinary Africans.
Speaking to Vanguard on the sidelines of the conference, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Yinka Sanni, stressed the need for Nigeria to focus on exporting more of processed agricultural goods, adding this is necessary to boost the nation’s non-oil export earnings. He said: “When the country’s raw agricultural products cannot be processed into semi or finished products before being exported, it cannot earn high income for the country. But if the products are processed before being exported the country will earn higher. So there is problem with the manufacturing sector not been able to produce goods that will generate high earnings.”
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