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Group wants economists to find solution to African poverty

The African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage), a socio-political and economic analytical and research-based institute, has challenged institutions, groups and individual economists to proffer lasting solutions to severe poverty in Africa.
The Executive Director of Afri-Heritage, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, gave the challenge during his opening remark at a two-day international conference holding in Enugu, Nigeria.
The international conference theme is: ‘‘Economics of Sustainable Growth in Africa.’’
Okeke-Uzodike noted that economists needed robust engagements on how to fuel our economies across the continent to grow at the double digit levels needed to effect transformative change.
He urged economists to take the challenge as a matter of urgency and move the continent away from crushing poverty confronting the people.
‘‘So, in Nigeria and around our continent, the quest for sustainable economic growth is a driver of government concerns and policy.
‘‘African countries should plot their development, not only by domestic economic activities, but also through bilateral and multilateral trade and inter-governmental support systems.
‘‘However, in spite of significant improvements in policy spaces across the region, Africa continues to experience serious challenges due to highly uneven economic growth patterns.
‘‘This challenge is made less tenable by inadequate growth rates for the world’s poorest region, youngest region, and demographically fastest growing region.
‘‘The net effect is that poverty has become an existential threat across many African countries.
‘‘Indeed, Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy is also the country with the world’s largest extremely poor people,’’ he said.
The executive director hoped that deliberations from the seminar would yield policy recommendations for policy-makers.
In a keynote speech, Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku, with the Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), said that sustainable growth means inclusive growth that catered for everyone in a nation.
Ichoku, a Professor of Economics, however, advised African countries to focus on labour-intensive industrial growth in order to create jobs and opportunities to carry everyone along in their individual countries.
‘‘Leaders in Africa must get their people out of poverty by looking into agriculture and cottage industries, which can be easily financed by these countries going with their relatively financial incapability.
‘‘So, labour-intensive modal of sustainable development should be adopted so that no one is left behind in the growth of any African country,’’ he noted.

More than 150 scholars with economic background from various institutions within and outside the country attended the conference.