Why Nigeria Must Stimulate Economic Growth With Other African Countries
Nigeria News takes a look at the last minute cancellation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to Kigali Rwanda.
There is perhaps a no better way to situate the crisis of vision in our national leadership arena today than to look at our African policy (or lack of it) field. It is pathetic.
Development is not wishful thinking, it is practical activity. And as studies have shown, the best way to stimulate economic growth is to trade with your fellow nationals and then your closest neighbours. It is simply put, the law of economic proximity! Underscoring this, the statistics depict that Africa, the poorest continent in the world today, is also with the least quantum of an inter-neighbour trade!
Across, the continent, from Rwanda to Ghana, Morocco to Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia to Botswana, Mauritius to Liberia and counting, this realization has since dawned on governments and the impetus now is towards boosting intra-African trade.
When the Common African Passport initiative was introduced, this was the prime motivation. When the African Free Skies Agreement came onto the table, this also was the driving force.
On Wednesday, Nigeria took what seemed to be the first positive step recently in this direction when it moved to commence the process of assenting to the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
Now feelers from the presidency indicate that the said assent would just not come anymore.
For those urging Nigeria to hold back on doing more to explore the richer potentials of enhanced intra-African trade, I say, you are either fighting the wrong battle or you are being short-sighted.
Yes, it is true that our power crisis, for example, puts an extra strain on the smooth and competitive functioning of our economy today but the answer is simply to either turn up the heat on the poorly capitalised and ill-performing power monopolies in the field today or to revoke their licenses and hand them over to better-heeled operators.
In the same vein, there are solutions to all of the other extant bottlenecks that are the basis today of our holding back ourselves and others in this critical, laudable and almost inevitable intra-African trade growth momentum.
Last Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had approved the signing of the framework agreement for establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area in Kigali Rwanda.
Though President Muhammadu Buhari was in Yobe while the FEC approved the signing with the hope that the president would be in Kigali on Tuesday.
However, Buhari cancelled the trip on Sunday for the reason that he would like to make more consultation with other stakeholders before signing such agreement.
Recalled that the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC had kicked against the signing of the agreement before now but the FEC disregarded the labour union assertion but went ahead to approve it.
As at Sunday, it was gathered that some members of the President’s advance team were already in Kigali while some were at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos to take off before the information reached them to return to Abuja.
The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tope Elias-Fatile, on Sunday issued a statement explaining the cancellation of the presidential trip.