Houston- US (PANA) -- Participants attending a business forum in Houston, US, have called on African governments to integrate their economies to boost growth and development in the continent.
They made the call late Thursday at the first US-Africa Investment and Finance Forum holding between 7-9 February.
The forum was organised by a group of Nigerian businessmen and women and their US counterparts, with support from some US-based private corporations.
"Africa has a lot of potential to harness and that can be best exploited through harmonising the economies of the countries to accelerate growth and enhance international trade," Tony Briggs, a Nigerian based in Houston told PANA.
Briggs, who is a real estate and financial consultant, said "a common economic relationships between African countries will rapidly create opportunities and make their markets easily accessible".
Another participant, Prince Sunny Igiebor of Houston-based Sunitex Energy Inc.
, urged governments to liberalise trade and entrench "efficiency, transparency, accountability and good governance to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)".
Igiebor, however, commended the Nigerian government for its economic reforms and urged other African countries to follow suit by transforming their economies to enable them face the challenges of economic integration.
John Shanu, who has lived in Houston for more than 20 years and also operates a large scale farm in Auchi in Edo state, Nigeria, said a good number of the continent's economies could compete favourably in the global market if the right policy mix was "conscientiously put in place".
Shanu further appealed to African leaders to introduce favourable trade policies and put in place good infrastructure in terms of electricity, integrated transport system and industrial parks to create jobs and accelerate economic activities.
The forum featured an exhibition of business packages, export finance solutions, equipment and training classes for people wishing to explore business opportunities.