In far away Cape Town, South Africa, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday charged African leaders to give the fullest possible attention to the economic emancipation, having successfully liberated the continent from colonialism, racism and apartheid.
He gave the charge while addressing the South African Parliament during his two-day state visit to that country. He called on his colleagues across the continent to now make building strong economies and strengthening democratic governance their topmost priority.
“On the 25th of this month, Africa will be celebrating the golden jubilee of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union. As we take stock of the achievements of our continental organization, it is also appropriate that we reflect and decide where our continent should be in the next fifty years.
“That destination has to be a democratic and united Africa that is at peace with itself and can compete with the rest of the world,” Mr Jonathan said.
Noting that Africa has emerged as the new frontier for trade and investment in the world, Jonathan said that African leaders must rise to the challenge of managing the new opportunities presented by this situation for the benefit of their peoples and countries.
Mr Jonathan spoke further, “there is certainly a lot more that we can do. We must work together to put an end to the exploitation and exploration of Africa’s resources for export without any value added; African countries must transform from being primary sources of raw material into producers to create jobs and opportunities for our people.
“We must check the loss of Africa’s trained manpower to already developed countries. We must work together, to promote trade and investment among our countries and build trans-national infrastructure in such critical sectors as trade, telecommunications, and transportation in order to fast-track the process of people-centred, continental integration.
“We must check the illicit transfer of huge sums of money to the developed world from Africa through sharp practices such as transfer pricing, tax evasion and corruption, all of which contribute to Africa’s economic under-performance”.
Acknowledging that there were positive developments in the area of governance in Africa with the continent now having more democratic nations than at any other time in its history, the Nigerian leader posited that democratic institutions were still weak in many African countries and needed to be strengthened.
In this regard, Mr Jonathan said African legislatures must see the need to insist on respect for the rule of law and accountability in the conduct of governmental affairs across the continent.
Noting that harmonious relationship between all the three arms of government, especially between the legislative and executive arms, is imperative for the objectives of good governance, and national progress, he said that he was delighted that the Executive and the Legislature in South Africa have forged a strong partnership for the benefit of the country.
“It is an example that is worthy of emulation by some other countries where the doctrine of the separation of powers and cordial intra-governmental relations still remain a knotty challenge,” he said.
He also recalled Nigeria’s partnership with the leaders of the African National Congress to achieve the liberation of South Africa and ending of apartheid, saying both countries must continue to work together in the interest of their people and the continent.
President Jonathan paid tribute to the “singular and collective heroism, as well as the inspirational examples” of former President Nelson Mandela, Chief Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Thambo, Govan Mbeki, Steve Biko, Chris Hani, and other South African men and women of “valour and integrity who were imbued with the spirit of sacrifice, patriotism, and devotion to the common good”.