President Tinubu: Africa Must Be Active to Compete Globally





President Tinubu, on Thursday, discussed how Africa can remain relevant in a competitive global market.


He stated that African countries should be involved in global competition, confirm and protect their continental unity, and resist what he called a "new scramble for the continent."


President Tinubu, the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government, stated that Africa should be proactive, emphasizing that the continent's odds do not necessitate passive leadership.


He was opposed to a new rush for Africa at a time when historical theft and exploitation should be relegated to the 🔥 of history.


Tinubu addressed the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanisms (RMs), and African Union Member States in Nairobi, Kenya.


According to his Special Duties, Communication, and Strategy Adviser, Mr. Dele Alake, the President also addressed the twin issues of terrorism and the reversal of democratic improvements in government.


Tinubu stated that the ECOWAS Authority was preparing to increase its Standby Force for deployment to combat terrorism and oppose coups in order to solve the twin issues.


President Tinubu emphasized ECOWAS's success in its integration process, which includes trade, free movement of people, investment promotion, infrastructure development, and security.


In his speech, entitled: “Address on Status of Regional Integration in ECOWAS,” he emphasised the need for Africa to overcome its challenges and work towards a prosperous future, focusing on inclusive growth, good governance, and leveraging the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).


Urging African leaders to foster good governance to ensure a prosperous future for the continent, President Tinubu said: “As Africans, we forge ahead, no matter the barriers thrust before us.


“The world we inhabit is often unkind and uncertain. History and current global difficulties argue against our future success.


“Lessons of the past few years teach us that the world economy can be disrupted in ways that halt progress and invite downturn.


“Our nations can suddenly find themselves in dire situations if we choose to be passive observers of our fate.”


Rejecting the notion of passivity, he stated that Africa will not tolerate another scramble, exploitation, and robbery of the continent.


On peace, security, and stability, the President stated that the sub-region should be free of terrorism and anti-constitutional government changes.


He added: “We sit here in meaningful discussion of vital economic matters. Yet, it will be impossible to bring full meaning to what we attempt unless we give due consideration to the instability and conflict that now scar many of our nations.


“The fullness of the integration we seek will elude us as long as several of our nations stand in the midst of violence and war.


“The trade and commerce we talk of today refers to valued goods and services that improve life.


“The trade and commerce these nations suffer is of destruction and disorder that takes lives and steals opportunity.


“We cannot integrate Africa and attain the prosperity we seek while our nearby brothers and sisters suffer in pain and anguish; they should not suffer. We must advance as one continent toward peace and prosperity.


“Otherwise, we risk the creation of two or more Africa, one a select group of nations moving steadily while the rest remain trapped in the age-old mire of poverty, conflict and lack of hope.


“It is very clear that in the area of peace, security, and stability, our region is confronted with the twin challenges of terrorism and reversal of democratic gains through undemocratic changes of government.


“To address these challenges, the ECOWAS Authority, which I have the honour to chair, has given a directive regarding the enhancement of the role of the ECOWAS Standby Force for deployment to fight terrorism and undemocratic changes in government.”


The President added: “The Authority has also resolved to raise our funding internally to finance the peace support operations in our community. Meanwhile, we have continued to monitor the transition programmes in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.”


President Tinubu recalled that at the recently ended ECOWAS Summit in Bissau, West African leaders determined to continue working with Mali and Burkina Faso to diligently implement the 24-month transition timelines agreed with ECOWAS.


He stated that ECOWAS had resolved to provide assistance to Burkina Faso and Mali in defending their territory from terrorists.


He urged foreign partners to provide the assistance needed to enable the restoration of democratic order in these West African countries.


In terms of trade, President Tinubu stated that ECOWAS had achieved the Free Trade Area and was striving to construct the Customs Union and Common Market.


He voiced concern, however, over the low level of intra-community trade among member-states, adding that the European Union (EU) remains the region's largest economic partner, followed by Asia, North America, and the rest of Africa.


He emphasized ECOWAS' efforts to cement the achievements of its trade liberalization plan and promote the AfCFTA's implementation, saying the ECOWAS Commission has been aiding member-states in the negotiations, ratification, and implementation of the AfCFTA.


He stated that the deal has been ratified by 13 of the 15 ECOWAS member states.


Concerning the free movement of people, President Tinubu stated that ECOWAS had begun efforts to implement the Harmonized Visa-Regime (ECOVISA) to promote the free movement of non-ECOWAS individuals.


President Tinubu underlined ECOWAS' priority on regional infrastructure development, notably the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor Highway, to encourage economic activity and integration.


He added: “The Feasibility and Preliminary Design and Studies show a significant investment cost of nearly US$15 billion for the whole highway with an average economic rate of return of 15 per cent per annum.


“In the same vein, preparations are underway for the development of the other corridors, namely the Abidjan-Praia-Dakar.”




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