WorldStage Newsonline-- Africa needs to act as a continent and put an end to cross border conflicts to boost trade among member countries according to a resolution of a panel Discussion/Meeting to Discuss Local Value Creation in Africa in Abuja.
Dr Jim O’Neill Former Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs and creator of the terms “BRICS” and “MINTs”, member, Global Advisory Board of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Africapitalism Institute's Inaugural Global Advisory Board at the forum told African countries to stop "fighting each other and start trading with one another", stressing that with a population of 1.1 billion people in Africa, there was great opportunity for trade on the continent.
O’Neill admonished African political and business leaders to "do the simple things because Africa has not behaved as a continent and should try to do things seriously with one another."
In his remark at the event, the founder of the Africapitalism Institute's Inaugural Global Advisory Board Meeting Mr. Tony Elumelu lamented that inadequate finished or manufactured products were the major reasons for the low level of trade among African nations.
Tony Elumelu lamented that African countries neither have nor produce enough goods and services to drive inter-Africa trade. According to him, "African cannot move forward by leaving 50 per cent of its population behind. It is not enough for African countries to produce only raw materials that are shipped off to Europe and America to be converted to finished consumer goods that are eventually imported to Africa. We can only trade with what we have."
He then told the audience that he brought $100 million to help young African entrepreneurs with $10,000 each as venture capital to finance creative business ideas to boost trade among African counties and help creat employment.
On his part, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry, (BoI), Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa who represented government at the panel discussion stated that the bank planned to spend N19.8billion to fund Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in states across the federation.
The BoI boss disclosed that the bank had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with state governments to support Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and have agreed on the set of criteria to be use with the states so the people within that state can access the funds.
According to him, "for the development of the MSME sector in each of the participating states majorly through the bank's cooperative lending scheme, the Bottom of the Pyramid Scheme is a new initiative aimed at deepening the banks credit offerings to micro entrepreneurs through Micro finance bank in each state."
"The idea behind the signing of MOU with states is to support MSMEs within the states, to also agree on criteria on how to select and reach out to beneficiaries. The state governments will be the ones to recommend the people for the state matching fund.
"Another reason it is difficult for people to access BoI loans is the poor packaging of loan applications thereby making it difficult for the bank to know exactly what they want or how to treat the application."