Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Dr. Joseph Ngute, has said that effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) would drive industrialisation, economic diversification and development on the continent.

Ngute said this at the Third Session of the Specialised Technical Committee of the African Union (AU) on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration on Thursday in Yaounde.

The meeting, which was organised in collaboration with the African Capacity Building Foundation, had as its theme, “Public Policies for Productive Transformation in Africa’’.

He urged African governments at the forum to focus on how to operationalise the AfCFTA agreement adopted in March 2018 in Kigali in a manner that would benefit  average Africans.

“We need to step up our game. We need to undertake bold programmes and projects to ensure the development of our continent and reduce our dependence on other continents.

“There is no alternative to this equation if we really want to succeed. Merging our economies is the only solution. That’s the only way we can develop intra-African trade which today is still very low at 12 per cent compared to 55 per cent in Asia and 65 per cent in Europe,’’ he said.

Also, speaking, the Chairperson, African Union Commission (AUC), Mr. Moussa Mahamat, said that establishing African Financial Institutions would aid the growth and diversification of the continental  economies.

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Mahamat, who was represented by the AU Commissioner of Economic Affairs, Prof. Victor Harrison, urged states to fast- track the creation of the African Central Bank, African Monetary Fund, African Investment Bank and the Pan-African Stock Exchange.

He said that these financial institutions are important for the success of the AfCFTA and to ensure productive transformation on the continent.

“The African Union (AU)financial institutions’ project is one of the vehicles that will drive the continent’s financial sector with a view to facilitating its productive transformation and development.

“Evidences suggest that efficient financial market plays a prominent role in economic and productivity growth by providing good information on firms and market niches at a lower cost to investors for more productive investments,’’ he said. The AU Assembly in January 2005, which held in Abuja, outlined decisions for the establishment of some African financial institutions to improve intra-African trade.

Part of the decisions was that the African Central Bank should be located in the Western Region, the African Investment Bank in the Northern Region, and the African Monetary Fund in the Central Region.

Following this decision, the Northern Region decided that the African Investment Bank should be located in Libya while the Central Region designated Cameroon as the host country of the African Monetary Fund. Also, the Western Region designated Nigeria as the host country of the African Central Bank.