-Acting World Bank Chief Economist
(L) Punam Chuhan- Pole
The Acting Chief Economist of the World Bank Punam Chuhan- Pole has described agriculture as a means of transforming any Economy. She said the use of better input to link farmers to Agriculture businesses will make an Economy better, noting that African countries need to tap into Agriculture and empower local farmers to increase their products so that the cost of importation can reduce so that there will be an improved business trade line. According to her, electricity can help to transform a society.
She added that in most African countries, people prefer living in the urban area than rural because investing in farmers will help improve Liberian’s economy, especially after the Ebola crisis wherein the economy of Liberia has dropped.
“Land is a valuable assert; so Africans need to make good use of it to help their economies and also in making farms; they should know what kind of commodity to make to make African more productive,” she said.
Speaking in WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016, via a video conference, the Vice President for Africa at the World Bank, Makhtar Diop, said as countries adjust to a more challenging global environment, stronger efforts to increase domestic resource mobilization will be needed,
saying with the trend of falling commodity prices, particularly oil and gas, it was time to accelerate all reforms to unleash the growth potential of Africa and provide affordable electricity for the African people. According to the Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, the economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa slowed in 2015, with GDP growth averaging 3.0 percent, down from 4.5 percent in 2014 – meaning that the pace of expansion decelerated to the lows last seen in 2009.
The 2016 growth forecast remains subdued at 3.3 percent – far below the robust 6.8 percent growth in GDP that the region sustained in the 2003-2008 period. Overall, growth is projected to pick up in 2017-2018 to 4.5 percent as Liberia is one of the World’s vulnerable countries in terms of Economy has weaker iron ore prices and a decline in rubber prices.
The Vice President further said that several countries are expected to see moderate growth. Among frontier markets, growth is expected to edge up in Ghana, driven by improving investor sentiment, the launch of new oilfields, and the easing of the electricity crisis.
For instance, the Vice President said, in Kenya, growth is expected to remain robust, supported by private consumption and public infrastructure investment. The Acting Chief Economist Punam Chuhan- Pole stressed that there should be a salary reform and strengthening the taxes structure,
saying that there is a need to increase taxes in the African countries. The Chief Economist noted that housing and transport were particularly costly in urban Africa, indicating that housing prices were about 55
percent higher in urban areas of African countries relative to their income levels.
The Chief Economist said urban transport, which includes prices of vehicles and transport services, was about 42 percent more expensive in African cities than cities in other countries. “Like households and workers, firms also face high urban costs. Cross-country analysis confirms that manufacturing firms in African cities pay higher wages in nominal terms than urban firms in other countries at comparable development levels,” the Chief Economist indicated.
Meanwhile, in order for African countries to improve, governments must take steps to adjust to a new, lower level of commodity prices, addressing economic vulnerabilities and develop new sources of sustainable, inclusive growth, the Chief Economist said.
By Ethel A. Tweh-Edited by George Barpeen