Chikwanda urges greater African economic strides

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FINANCE Minister Alexander Chikwanda has advised African interest groups to unite for them to create a viable and successful regional market.

He said youths and the general populace were tired of promises of economic liberation and wanted action that would give them life skills, jobs and sustainable livelihood for them to stay away from crime and delinquency.

Mr Chikwanda, who is the outgoing PTA Bank chairperson, said this when he addressed delegates at the 29th session of the Bank’s Annual General Meeting held in Addis Ababa yesterday.

He said although statistics indicated that regional economic performance was doing well at five per cent per annum, the reality on the ground was different in most countries.

The minister said the way forward was for the members to close the infrastructure deficit in the various countries and the region, to enhance competitiveness by reducing the cost of doing business and creating employment for the youths.

“Youths and the general populace in the region are tired of reports promising them economic emancipation. What they want is action which will give them life skills, jobs and sustainable livelihood to keep away from crime and delinquency permanently,” he said.

He called for a stronger PTA Bank which would facilitate investment in transport, energy and communication infrastructure as these were critical to unlocking productivity in the labour-intensive sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.

Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Economic Cluster, Debre Gabre said the PTA should rise to the occasion to meet the demands and expectations of the public and private sector in member States.

Mr Chikwanda assumed the PTA Bank chair last year and some of the successes recorded under his tenure included the increase in profitability of the Bank and the decline of non-performing loans.

Other achievements included numerous innovations while reforms to enhance efficiency and competitiveness of the Bank were implemented.

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