Abujaâ€”Â Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has called on African leaders to harness the continentâ€™s potential and opportunities to better the lot of the citizens.
Jonathan made the call weekend to mark the end of activities of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Nigeria/ South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC).
â€œAfrica as a continent is full of many challenges as well as many opportunities. It is a continent endowed with rich natural and mineral resources.
â€œIt is now left for her leaders to not only to harness these enormous resources but also to convert the various opportunities into realisable goals that can engage its people to achieve economic prosperity,â€ he said.
He noted that both Nigeria and South Africa had the solemn duty to take the lead in moving Africa forwardÂ by designing a strategic partnership, anchored on shared values and common interest of the continent.
â€œNigeria and South Africa must be drivers of change in a continental Africa movement to create a new and prosperous Africa. Both countries have no choice than to cooperate in the interest of their people,â€ he said.
The vice president said that the BNC 10th year anniversary had opened greater opportunities for cooperation between the countries.
He noted that the anniversary which took place both in South Africa and Nigeria had opened up more vistas of opportunityÂ in areas such as banking and finance, agriculture, health, tourism and hospitality, sports and entertainment, mining, trade and industries.
To strengthen the cooperation, Jonathan advised the two countries to take another look at the nagging consular and immigration problems.
â€œAs a first step, our interior minister, High Commissioner to South Africa and Comptroller General of Immigration were directed to meet with their South African counterparts before the end of the year.
â€œThey are to sort out pending consular and immigration problems and prepare a comprehensive report for the February BNC meetting in South Africa.
â€œFurthermore, they were directed to open channels of constant communication as a way of addressing such consular and immigration irritants as at when they arise,â€ he said
In his remark, the South African Deputy President Kgalema Montlanthe thanked the Nigerian Government for the warm hospitality accorded him and his entourage during the three-day event.
He gave the assurance that the two countriesâ€™ flagship projects would be implemented to the letter.