President Goodluck Jonathan has said that in terms of security, the onslaught being unleashed on the people of the northern part of the country by members of the fundamental sect, Boko Haram, remains the biggest challenge of his administration.
“In terms of security, Boko Haram is the biggest challenge we have at the moment,” the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati quoted the President.
Jonathan spoke during a televised debate titled, “Africa’s Next Billion,” held at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
His positions were contained in a snippet of the debate posted by Abati, on his Twitter handle.
President Jonathan said on Wednesday it was wrong for anybody to hold the belief that corruption was the cause of all the problems confronting Africa.
“Everything that does not happen the way it should in Africa, people say corruption is the answer. I don’t agree,” Abati quoted Jonathan as saying.
The President also reportedly told the gathering that the power sector privatisation carried out by his administration was already yielding positive fruits.
He claimed that Nigerians had started witnessing increased electricity supply within a short period.
He also assured them that that positive development was just the beginning.
In a statement Abati later made available to journalists, the presidential spokesman quoted Jonathan as calling on all stakeholders in the continent to continue to work for greater security and political stability, which he described as prerequisites for sustained socio-economic development.
“Security and political stability are key to development. Investors will not come to any country that is insecure or politically unstable. Happily, many African countries now enjoy political stability. It is a major reason for the positive economic growth rates, which we are now witnessing on the continent and we must continue to do our best to maintain and expand the frontiers of political stability on our continent,” Jonathan said.
He also said African governments must accord the highest possible priority to promoting inclusive economic growth on the continent to avoid problems associated with poverty and financial equality.
He said his administration was already doing a lot to enhance inclusive growth in Nigeria through policies and programmes that focussed on wealth creation rather than poverty alleviation.
He said, “Economic inclusion is very important and we are already taking necessary steps to improve financial inclusion in our country. Transforming our agricultural sector is one way in which we are doing so.
“We are doing all that we can to transform agriculture in Nigeria into a much more productive and job creating sector. We are also working to create more inclusive wealth through better education, skills acquisition programmes and policies that encourage the addition of value to our primary products before exportation.”
The President said with Africa’s population projected to exceed two billion persons by the year 2050, wealth creation and job creation must remain at the top of the continent’s developmental agenda.
Jonathan, President John Mahama of Ghana, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and other participants in the debate agreed that the objective of achieving more inclusive economic growth would be better served, if African leaders took more positive action towards boosting intra-African trade.
He said the current situation in which only 11 per cent of Africa’s total trade took place within the continent was unacceptable.
The President said that African leaders must do everything possible to remove all impediments to trade among African countries, including inadequate air and land transportation links between their countries.
He also said while Africa’s private sector must play a greater role in driving economic growth on the continent, governments must remain proactively engaged in evolving and implementing policies that would enable businesses to thrive and create more wealth on the continent.
Speaking to journalists after the debate, the President said the World Economic Forum on Africa, scheduled for Abuja in May this year, would provide a platform for exhibiting the immense economic potential of Nigeria and the West African sub-region to the world’s leading investors and companies.
Source: Punch Nigeria