Obasanjo Canvasses Economic Integration In Africa | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Obasanjo Canvasses Economic Integration In Africa

Posted: Jul 20, 2016 at 6:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Bamidele Ogunwusi


Lagos – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that the time for the African continent to get together and build a stronger economy is now.

He stated this on Tuesday in Lagos at the roundtable for the unveiling of the Morocco-Nigeria business relation which was organised by Dunn Loren Merrifield Group (DLM), a firm of financial advisors.

Sonnie Ayere, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DLM, also suggested the establishment of Nigeria-Morocco Bank to fund trading and economic activities among the two countries.

Obasanjo said: “We need to know ourselves; we should help African Union (AU) to achieve economic integration. It can start now and we should start now. Political integration may take a longer time but we need economic integration. Africa needs strong economy and the interaction and integration should begin now”.

Obasanjo, who left the venue of the meeting for another forum for African economic integration in Seychelles, said Africans should remove the veil of ignorance that has stagnated her and move towards a regime of economic emancipation for the good of the continent.

“Nigerians and Moroccans should be visiting other African countries for holidays and not to go to Europe and America. We have places here in Africa that we can visit and by so doing, we will develop our economies by ourselves”, Obasanjo added.

In his presentation at the forum, Ayere said the company is making efforts at fulfilling the mandate given to it by the World Bank to showcase Nigeria to other parts of the world.

“Ours is to showcase Nigeria to Morocco and to let them know investment opportunities that exist in Nigeria. We will look at so many things, we will check if we have the Nigeria-Morocco Chambers of Industry, if we do, we will strengthen it and if we don’t, we will create it.

“It also possible that we may have a bank, like a Nigeria-Morocco Bank to provide finance for business activities between the two countries”, he said.

Karim El. Aynaoul of OCP Policy Center, Rabat, Morocco, a think tank that has the ambition to function as an open debate platform, in the spirit of a “public good”, said the Nigerians and Moroccans need to work together to make the business interaction happen.

Aynaoul said: “It is a big challenge for Nigeria and Morocco to move to where we are supposed to be in the economic space. We need to be where Turkey and Brazil are now. We need to improve capacity to build strong institutions to regulate market. Nigeria and Morocco are both facing similar complex challenges on security front but the determination of these two countries will surmount the problem.

“The fact that advanced economies are not doing so well is good news for Africa. We need to take our place and grow the economy of the continent. This is our time to take the lead in the economic spheres. We need to begin to build bridges, mental and economic bridges and create more value chains in the continent.”

In her contribution at the meeting, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, former Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division and former minister of education, said Africans should begin to integrate like it is done in other continents.

Her words: “Across the continents of the world we have seen several intra-regional trading activities which have developed economies of those countries and continents. Intra-regional economic activities stood at between 30 and 35 percent in Latin America, 50 percent in Asia, 70 to 75 percent in Europe and less than 5 percent in Africa”.

She stressed that intra-regional trading activities has the potential to grow African economy.