President Muhammadu Buhari has urged executives of banking institutions in West Africa to forge a closer collaboration to tackle economic challenges confronting the sub-region.
The president made the call on Tuesday while receiving a delegation from the West African Bankers Association (WABA) led by its President, Thierno Seydou Nourou Sy.
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President Buhari said the sub-region must find a common understanding and ground to address low access to financial services and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. He told the association – founded in 1981 with over 250 commercial banks and 15 institutions from across West Africa – that for many centuries African countries had traded with one another without a formalised and structured system.
President Buhari, who said over time global trade had become more complex and organised, expressed confidence that the rollout of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would be a turning point in how African countries traded with one another.
The WABA president hailed the lead role Nigeria plays in African economy and said President Buhari’s leadership was well appreciated.
He urged President Buhari to be an advocate for greater inclusion for WABA in the ECOWAS structure, noting that one of the challenges with the banking system was capacity building, and urged Nigeria to set up a training academy for the industry.