Global Economy: Inter-parliamentary Synergy Can Sustain Africa -Dep Speaker

Date:

By Paul Effiong, Abuja

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu said yesterday that for Africa to overcome global economic challenges, it needs to reduce dependency on the global north, utilise foreign exchange judiciously and implement robust industrial policies.

To achieve this, he said the continent would ride on the crest of the current global economic volatility to attain economic sovereignty. 

Kalu stated this while delivering a paper on Parliamentary Spotlight at the 2024 Africa Economic Summit with the theme: “Africa: Riding the Crest of Global Economic and Political Volatility” in Abuja.

Represented by the spokesperson of the House, Akin Rotimi, the deputy speaker explained that the parliamentary spotlight explores how African nations, through their parliaments, can craft legislative solutions to navigate the current global complexities.

He opined that in the face of intensifying global economic and political volatility, Africa must strive for a fairer and less exploitative international order and harness its own legislative prowess to ensure the continent’s prosperity, sovereignty and economic resilience.

Referencing Morocco’s industrial policy, Kalu said the country has shifted its focus on integrating into Global Value Chains, GVCs, and gaining a competitive advantage in the automotive sector. 

He described it as a good industrial policy, saying the Nigerian parliament will look into specific lawmaking approaches that can be adopted by respective parliaments of African countries, including the African Union’s Pan-African Parliament.

Kalu said, “Countries reliant on imports from the global north face significant pressure to acquire a large amount of foreign currency to finance these imports. This often necessitates focusing on producing exports for western markets or accruing external debt. However, the disparity in value between African exports and western goods result in substantial net transfer of goods from Africa to the West (Europe & North America). 

“This dynamic urgently needs to be addressed. This pattern of dependency on material and technical resources is further exacerbated by the “transfer problem,” where African countries must continually earn foreign currency to facilitate these transactions. Our parliaments can curb this by, diversification of exports and trading partners: enact policies to invest in domestic industries, promote the export of higher-value manufactured goods. 

“Legislate for trade agreements with emerging economies in Latin America and South-East Asia for fairer trade terms, negotiate favorable loan terms with international lenders and financial institutions through legislative advocacy. We can use platforms like the Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, to do this. The House of Representatives is an active participant in all IPU deliberations and engagements.

“Make strategic use of foreign exchange for national development. Strategic utilisation of foreign exchange for national development is crucial. To support this strategy, African parliaments can enact policies that prioritise the use of foreign exchange for essential imports and critical capital goods. Legislation can focus on developing national industries and enhance domestic value-added capabilities. 

“Establish industrial policy focused on well-being, Ecology, and Global Value-Chain, GVC, integration. To achieve this, African parliaments can enact legislation that prioritises the development of industries critical to human well-being and ecological sustainability. Policies should support the growth of industries that integrate seamlessly with both domestic and global supply chains.”

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