By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, ​​Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday called on leaders of West African banking institutions to forge closer collaboration to address the economic challenges facing the sub-region.

According to a statement by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari spoke during his audience with a delegation from the West African Bankers Association (WABA), led by his president, Thierno Seydou Nourou Sy, in the presidential election. Villa, Abuja.

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The President noted that the sub-region needs to find common understanding and ground to address low access to financial services and recovery from the post-COVID-19 pandemic.

He told the association, founded in 1981, which brings together more than 250 commercial banks and 15 institutions from across West Africa, that for many centuries African countries traded with each other without a formalized system. and structured.

The President, however, noted that over time, global trade has become more complex and organized.

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He said he believed that the rollout of the African Continental Free Trade Area would be a turning point in the way African countries trade with each other.

“Most importantly, we will turn the page by ensuring that we deepen and expand our industrial capabilities by ensuring that we export less of what we have been endowed with in primary or raw form, and convert more of those resources in finished materials.

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“This will allow us to benefit from the revenue from the added value of exporting a finished product,” he said.

Speaking further, the Nigerian leader said, “Our ability to overcome the current phase of our development lies in our determination to work jointly through our regional and sub-regional organizations where we can all come to a common understanding to fight against an enemy commmon.

“This is one of the reasons why I am delighted with the progress made by ECOWAS towards unanimity and the formation of alliances in order to solve the problems facing the sub-region.

“I think this is also the approach taken by the West African Bankers Association and the West African Monetary Union.”

Commenting on ongoing efforts to synchronize monetary and fiscal policies through WABA, the President challenged the association to find common ground, despite the unique macro-economic challenges each member state faces.

He pledged that Nigeria would always be ready to support efforts to improve the lives of all its citizens “as long as they do not disadvantage us”.

The WABA Chairman hailed the leading role Nigeria is playing in the African economy, adding that President Buhari’s leadership was also highly appreciated.

“That is why we are here to advise and guide the financial sector in West Africa,” he said.

He urged President Buhari to advocate for greater inclusion of WABA in the ECOWAS structure, also noting that one of the challenges in the banking system is capacity building, and urging Nigeria to establish a training academy for WABA. ‘industry.