The ability to access finance and weak infrastructure are some of the impediments hindering regional growth, Matthias Chika Mordi, Chief Executive, National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria told CNBC Africa.
Mordi made the comments at the backdrop of the recent Global Competitiveness report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that shows that sub-Saharan Africa's most pressing challenges were weak institutions, poor infrastructure, and insufficient health and education sectors.
The WEF report called for enhancing reforms and efficiency of critical markets like finance and labour markets.
“There is diversity of priorities among Africa’s 54 heterogeneous economies, different countries have different structures, but what is clear is that there is universal approach when it comes to healthcare concerns,” said Mordi.
He added that the challenge of corruption was also weighing down on the region as it affected every other sector among them the healthcare delivery system, education and accessing finance.
Mordi said international aid was also hindering development calling for a more focused approach.
“Aid intervention should be there to increase capacity [against promoting dependency]. We have seen aid dependency happening in the continent and this has brought more harm than good,” he warned.
Mordi also decried power deficit in Africa’s largest economy adding that this continues to be a major problem coupled with inefficient health delivery.
According to reports, the country’s largest telecommunications companies spent close to 100 million US dollars a year on diesel fuel to keep their networks running due to poor energy supply. However, Mordi sees opportunity with new administration in power.
“One advantage we have at the moment is that we have an opportunity for engagement as we have a new government with high levels of awareness,” he said.
Mordi warned that the demographic dividend that Africa had could be harnessed as an opportunity but this was slowly becoming a threat.
He said Africa had huge youth unemployment with skills deficit.
“There is a need to invest in creating a skills base as we still have high foreign participation.”