The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and other finance ministers from Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and other African countries are exploring ways to boost investment growth and economic diversification on the continent as prices of crude oil and other export commodities continue to fall.

The finance ministers will be speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank spring meetings holding in Washington DC in the United States, a statement by the organisers said on Wednesday.

The ministers will be joining the Ugandan Central Bank Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, as well as investment bankers and lawyers to discuss the latest developments in Africa’s debt and capital markets, according to the statement by the African Banker magazine, the organiser of the forum.

The statement said, “Emerging market sovereign debt has attracted global interest over the past five years, especially as yields in the West have been low, and right now, investors are paying governments to lend them money.

“Discussions at the meeting will be centred on whether this debt accumulation is manageable and what policymakers can do to accelerate reforms in order to enable deeper capital markets and more cross border capital flows.”

The statement quoted the Managing Director, IC Events, Mr. Omar Ben Yedder, as saying that the focus of the summit would be on the emergence of world-class financial hubs in Africa.

African capital markets, he said, had a clear and critical role in increasingly driving investment, growth and economic diversification.

There must be an avenue for small and medium-sized businesses to raise capital and the capital markets should be there for them, he added.

The Head, Debt Primary Markets, Standard Bank, Ms. Megan McDonald, highlighted how the total volume of Eurobonds Africa issuance in 2014 had exceeded that of 2013, stating that it now stood at slightly over $15bn.

She added, “One of the benefits of any issuer accessing the Eurobond market is that it increases the scrutiny and focus from a global investor audience in terms of government procedures, reporting and information disclosure, which imposes a discipline on the issuer to ensure that the funds are used appropriately.”