President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has outlined the steps necessary to ensure Africa’s continued relevance in the global arena.
Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, during the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union (AU) and other regional bodies, Tinubu, who chairs the ECOWAS Authority, emphasized the need for proactive African engagement to compete globally, affirm continental unity, and reject any attempts to exploit the continent.
Addressing African leaders, Tinubu stressed the importance of a proactive stance, asserting that passive leadership is insufficient in tackling the challenges facing the continent.
He dismissed the idea of a new scramble for Africa, stressing that it is imperative to leave behind the historical plundering and exploitation of the past.
Regarding the twin challenges of terrorism and the reversal of democratic changes, Tinubu revealed that the ECOWAS Authority is taking steps to bolster its Standby Force to combat terrorism and resist coups.
He highlighted the progress made by ECOWAS in various areas, including trade, free movement, investment promotion, infrastructure development, and security.
In his speech titled “Address on Status of Regional Integration in ECOWAS,” Tinubu underscored the importance of surmounting African challenges and striving for a prosperous future through inclusive growth, proper governance, and leveraging the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Encouraging African leaders to foster good governance, Tinubu stated, “As Africans, we must forge ahead, regardless of the obstacles in our path.
The world we live in is often unforgiving and unpredictable. History and current global difficulties warn against our future success.
Lessons from recent years show us that the world economy can be disrupted, impeding progress and inviting decline.
If we choose to be passive spectators of our fate, our nations can find themselves in dire situations overnight.”
Rejecting passivity as an option, Tinubu vowed that Africa will not allow a repeat of the scramble, exploitation, and plundering of the continent’s resources.
He also emphasized the urgent need to address peace, security, and stability, calling for liberation from terrorism and unconstitutional changes in government.
Tinubu concluded his address, saying, “Today, we engage in meaningful discussions on vital economic matters.
Yet, we cannot fully realize the potential of our efforts unless we address the instability and conflicts that afflict many of our nations.
The true integration we seek will remain elusive as long as violence and war persist in some parts of our continent.
The trade and commerce we discuss today should bring prosperity and improve lives. However, many of our nations suffer from destruction and disorder that rob lives and opportunities.
We cannot achieve African integration and the prosperity we seek while our neighboring brothers and sisters suffer in pain and anguish. We must advance together towards peace and prosperity as one continent.
Otherwise, we risk the creation of multiple Africas, with a select few nations making progress while the rest remain trapped in the age-old cycle of poverty, conflict, and hopelessness.”