Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has been appointed the Chairperson, Board of Governors of ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).
This was made known at the end of the 15th Ordinary Session of the board of governors of the bank in Abuja.
She succeeds Hassoumi Massoudou from Republic of Niger.
Earlier, Adeosun had urged other finance ministers to speak about radical economic transformation, which would no doubt, take the sub-region to improved living standard for all citizens.
She advised them to prioritise industrialisation, especially through labour intensive manufacturing to promote job creation.
“In addition, conscious emphasis should be placed on agriculture to improve food security and deriving more value from the sea by boosting the ocean economy.
Potentially, these areas also provide investors with profitable investment opportunities in our community,’’ Adeosun said.
Adeosun also said critical work was being done to promote regional integration in the sub-region.
She said that on Nigeria’s part, efforts were underway to radically transform its economy in a manner that would shift the age-old emphasis away from oil as the main source of revenue.
Adeosun said diversification and domestic resource mobilisation through improved tax revenue were ongoing in Nigeria.
According to her, “the signaling effect coupled with positive externalities that would be generated will have significant impact on the regional economy.”
“Infrastructure development remains top of the agenda to ease movement of goods, people and services across our community.
Furthermore, power to light up Africa is an essential imperative for industrialisation and for us to succeed, we need to mobilise appropriate financing.
Accordingly, we must support our Bank, EBID, to mobilise domestic and external resources to strengthen developmental partnerships and collaboration,’’ she said.
She said the meeting was a key instrument in this regard as it brought the drivers of the economy in the sub-region together to discuss important matters.
Our people yearn for prosperity and we must be determined, that is why we have ECOWAS Vision 2020 as a clear roadmap towards a better life for all, ‘’ she said.
President of the Bank, Mr Bashir Ifo, said the implementation of the 2016-2020 strategic plan of the bank was being constrained due to lack of resources.
He said a review of the key indicators of the plan showed that all of the projected targets for various quantitative indicators had fallen below expectations.
“Especially hard hit was the mobilization of resources which is the overarching pillar in the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.
However, we are hopeful that with the intensification of resource mobilization initiatives, the implementation of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan would considerably improve,’’ Ifo said.
Ifo, therefore, called on all member states and other stakeholders to help the bank to fulfill its mandate to help ECOWAS countries reduce poverty.
He said payment of the remaining capital arrears owed by member states would not only help it fulfill its mandate in the sub-region.
He said it would also significantly contribute to positioning it as a viable financial entity that could mobilise adequate funds on the back of its shareholders’ support.
“In short, additional equity infusion would strengthen the bank’s balance sheet which would then permit it to mobilise funds at competitive rates, ’’ the bank president said.
Ifo said the bank was mandated to help member states create employment and build the necessary infrastructure to undergird economic growth and development.
He, however, said that that in spite of resource constraints, the bank had been making significant regional development and integration efforts.
He explained that in 2016, the bank’s net cumulative commitments in member states stood at 1.34 billion dollars for 135 projects.
“We are pleased to report that in 2016, we were able to conclude negotiations with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).
This culminated into the signing of two loan agreements in the amounts of 45 million dollars and 15 million dollars for trade finance and private sector financing.
We are also in discussions with the Indian Government for another 500 million dollars line of credit to the bank.
In addition, discussions are ongoing with the Islamic Development Bank, China Development Bank and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
This is for the purpose of mobilising adequate resources to finance development projects and programmes within the ECOWAS sub-region in conformity with our mandate,’’ he said.
EBID was established by the 15 member states for economic development of West Africa through the financing of ECOWAS projects and programmes.