AS the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, Former President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has tasked African countries to look inward for home grown solutions.
Dr. Jonathan also stressed the need for the boosting of economic activities and co-operation in Africa, noting that increasing trade within the continent would significantly improve the economies of African nations. The former President stated this during a teleconference organised by the Universal Peace Federation, UPF, on Monday to mark the occasion of Africa Day 2020.
The conference, which is part of UPF’s peace talks webinar series, focused on the theme “creating an interdependent and prosperous Africa in a world in conflict at the time of the COVID-19 crisis”, had panelists drawn across different countries, especially from Africa.
Jonathan spoke alongside Dr. Nevers Mumba, former Vice President of Zambia, Mr. Delfim Santiago das Neves, President of the National Assembly of Republic of Sa Tome and Principe, Ms Marie-Laurence Sranon, former Minister of Family, School Affairs and Microfinance, Benin and Dr Thomas Walsh, Chairman of UPP International.
Emphasising why Africa should leverage this challenge to look inward, the former President observed that such efforts would produce home grown solutions. “Those who are managing the crisis must look at the circumstances of their nations. The issue of lockdown for example should be enforced in consideration of the peculiar circumstances of African nations.
Jonathan also made a case for good governance, stressing that “issues of justice, democracy, equality and the rule of law are the necessary conditions to achieving a prosperous and peaceful continent.”
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He said further: “The agenda 2063 is quite robust and interesting as it gives a blueprint on how to transform Africa into a global political and economic powerhouse that youth and women will be proud of where their dreams, and talents will be realised.
“But we cannot realise this without peace, good governance, and strong institutions. Good governance will strengthen our institutions, until we have strong institutions, as we cannot move forward as a continent. We must come up with policies that will lead to the industrialisation of the continent. We must encourage democracy and conduct credible and transparent elections.
Highlighting the effect of COVID-19 and the need for interdependence among Africa nations, the former president noted: “The post COVID-era will be very challenging for many nations, because with the lockdown of our economies, poverty may likely go up. We need to increase trade within the continent, presently, intra-Africa trade is just about 18 percent compared to the EU that is up to 80 percent. If we can increase intra-African trade to 40 percent, it will significantly boost the economies of our nations.’’