Don’t rely on ‘big’ nations, Jonathan tells African leaders
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has urged African countries to harness their potentials and depend less on “industrialised nations”.
Speaking when he received Botswana’s Ambassador to Nigeria Mr Louis Matshewenyego Fisher at the State House, Abuja, Jonathan implored Africa to use its comparative economic advantages for its people’s benefit.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the president said it was time Africa moved away from current “dependency” partnerships with the industrialised nations.
He urged African leaders to focus more on building domestic capacity around the strength of their economies, instead of wasting efforts on areas in which they lack a competitive edge.
Acknowledging the inter-connectivity of the world economy, Jonathan said globalisation would work better when African countries take greater advantage of their human and natural resources to enhance their ability to compete effectively with other regions in world trade.
Africa’s competitiveness, he said, could be further enhanced through increased regional trade and horizontal investment partnerships.
Jonathan said: “I want to insist that our diplomacy should be based more on trade and economic relations. We must encourage trade between our people and I see that relationship as the bedrock for diplomacy.”
The president also received letters of credence from Czech Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Pavel Mikes, Kuwait Ambassador to Nigeria Abdulla Ahmed Al-Sharrah and Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria Mr. Perry Calderwood.
He told them about the need for partnerships that could boost the economies of Nigeria and other African nations.
Pointing out that the growing youth population in Africa was an advantage for the continent, he said the population gave the continent a competitive edge over other parts of the world by providing a vast labour pool for investors and a huge market for products and services.
“Most Western countries have a population that is largely elderly. We have a larger population of youths in Nigeria and most African countries. But we must do more to ensure that they are meaningfully engaged and that will involve confronting the challenge of unemployment head long,’’ he said.
Jonathan congratulated the ambassadors on their posting and wished them success in their efforts to boost bilateral relations between Nigeria and their countries.
The ambassadors thanked the president for receiving them promising to work hard to further enhance existing trade, economic and cultural cooperation between Nigeria and their countries.