Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer designate of Skye Bank Plc. Mr. Timothy Oguntayo, has stated that Africa’s sustainable economic growth rests on the faithful and committed implementation of the on-going policy and regulatory reforms, improved governance, political stability on the continent and other business facilitation reforms.
Oguntayo stated this in a paper titled “Economic and Institutional Reforms for Sustainable Growth in Africa” which he presented at the just-concluded first ‘International Conference on African Development Issues’ organized by Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State which had in attendance two Nobel Laureates in Economics, Professors Eric Maskin and Thomas Sargent of Harvard and New York Universities, respectively.
Giving a broad overview of Africa’s economic prospects, growth and the factors responsible for them, he said the relative growth taking place on the continent could be attributed to improved governance, political stability and other liberal reforms which have unleashed private sector value creation and investments in a wide range of industries.
“Post-2008 financial crisis, there are indications that African countries have grown strongly and are making steady progress in addressing most of its challenging macro-economic and governance problems; although they have not fully turned the corner. Most have successfully implemented microeconomic reforms, with those that have encouraged trade liberalization experiencing faster growth,” Oguntayo said specifically referring to Mauritius and Botswana, where well-coordinated institutional reforms have benefited their economies.
On Africa’s growth prospects, the Skye Bank boss said the continent has the capacity to significantly outperform its GDP growth in the previous years, considering the abundance of natural resources, population, and sustained democracy.
“After a long period of economic stagnation and decline, Africa experienced steady growth in the last decade, mainly due to economic reforms and attendant increased flow of funds. Average GDP growth was over five percent from 2000 to 2012 compared to five percent in the 1990s.
“In 2013, the continent grew by four percent and growth is projected at 4.7 percent growth in 2014 and five percent in 2015. Post 2008 financial crisis, growth has been stronger in Africa than the developed economies as well as Eastern Europe”, he explained.
However, for the growth to be holistic and all-inclusive, Oguntayo, who was represented by Tajudeen Ahmed, Head of Corporate Planning & Strategy of the Bank said it is imperative to address the bottlenecks and structural constraints that have made Africa’s investment climate unattractive. He identified the constraints as leadership deficiency, political instability, cost of doing business, endemic corruption, and poor infrastructure.