Nairobi (HAN) May 8, 2014.– African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Donald Kaberuka, alongside two African leaders, on 7 May 2014 in Abuja, Nigeria, launched a call to action for regional integration in Africa. Called “Visa free travel in Africa”, the initiative, launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa, means to promote travel across the continent by easing visa constraints.
Kaberuka said: “the African Development Bank strongly supports the initiative, as a key component of its commitment to enhancing regional integration across Africa. Easing visa constraints and removing other unnecessary barriers will contribute to boosting our economies by expanding regional trade”. “True integration will take place only if people are able to move freely across the continent and leaders need to take action to make this happen,” Kaberuka added.
The initiative was launched by Rwanda President Paul Kagame, Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta, Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote, and Dr Kaberuka. President Kenyatta said: “Lack of political will and negative perception should not be allowed to undermine Africa’s integration and economic growth.”
The AfDB is closely involved in other World Economic Forum initiatives in Abuja including those on financing the Africa infrastructure gap. On 7 May, African Development Bank Chief Economist, Mthuli Ncube, urged Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to synergize and drive inclusive growth in the continent. He made the call during a panel discussion on “Forging Inclusive growth, Creating Jobs’’. Ncube spoke as a panelist on the topic, “Driving Competitiveness through Cooperation, integration and Economic growth’’. He said that growth is positive in the region, but inequalities remain high. According to Ncube, if the three countries could work together, it would dramatically reduce the average poverty rate in the Africa region.