Friday, August 19, 2016 5.39pm/ CBN
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, August 18, 2016, declared open the 39th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Governors of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB), even as he commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for spearheading economic stimulus through its intervention programmes.
The President described the theme of the symposium – “Unwinding Unconventional Monetary Policies: Implications for Monetary Policy and Financial Stability in Africa” as apt, considering the number of growing challenges that threatened the growth and stability of the continent’s financial systems.
He particularly expressed concern over economic challenges such as weakening global aggregate demand, rising inflation, capital flow reversals as a result of tapering in the United States, rising debt levels, increased exchange rate volatility and depleting external reserves owing to heavy dependence on primary commodity exports.
President Buhari, however, acknowledged that African Central Banks had done their best possible in keeping the economies of their respective countries afloat through proactive and effective combination of conventional and unconventional monetary policy.
While noting that there was room for improvement, he urged the assembly of Governors to seek for original home-grown solutions to Africa’s economic challenges, instead of holding on to one-cap-fits-all prescriptions handed down from abroad.
“The world is a dynamic place; with innovation, we can survive,” he added.
Further acknowledging the role of central banks in sub-Saharan Africa in promoting more inclusive economic growth, the President praised the effort of the Central Bank of Nigeria for its interventions, which he noted had helped to provide the much-needed stimulus in the Nigerian economy through specific intervention programmes.
Buhari, who is the first President to visit the Bank, however, urged the CBN to sustain the measures through good and bad economic times.
While also observing that monetary policy alone was not sufficient to tackle the issue of economic growth in Africa, President Buhari stressed the need for stronger coordination between monetary and fiscal policy.
On the part of the Federal Government, he reiterated his administration’s determination to diversify the Nigerian economy away from excessive reliance on oil and other primary produce. He equally reechoed his intolerance for corruption and charged Central Banks, as the major regulator of the financial system, to intensify their surveillance and propose policies that would guide the operations of financial institutions and reverse the trend of illicit flow of funds out of Africa.
Welcoming participants and guests earlier, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, noted that the large attendance of participants from outside Africa and various parts of the continent attested to the collective resolve and commitment to utilize the platform provided by AACB to deliberate and proffer solutions to the numerous economic challenges facing Africa.
Alluding to the prevalence of cross-border banks across the African landscape, Mr. Emefiele emphasised the need for constant international support and effective participation in all the activities of the AACB.
Citing the massive illicit financial flows being perpetrated by persistent shadow financial system as a critical subject of discourse, he noted that the vice had greatly affected the economic development of Africa. He therefore called for more cooperation, collaboration and advocacy of greater transparency in the global financial system.
Also speaking on the dearth of literature on the theme of the symposium, Mr. Emefiele said it had become necessary for central banks to evolve appropriate strategies as safeguards against any negative spillovers on financial stability.
“This is even more critical for central banks in developing countries given our openness to international trade and financial flows as well as somewhat inherently weak shock absorbing capacities,” he added.
In their respective remarks at the opening ceremony, the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission (AUC), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; out-going Chairman, AACB and Governor of the Central Bank of Central African States (Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale – BEAC), Mr. Lucas Abaga Ncama; and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Madame Christine Lagarde all stressed the need to transform the African economy.
They noted that central banks in Africa needed encouragement as they were battling with the global economic slowdown. They therefore sued for continued cooperation and collaboration.
Giving the vote of thanks, the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Alade, said the presence of the President was a testimony of his total commitment and support for African regional integration and the achievement of sustainable growth and development in Africa.