President Muhammadu Buhari declared Thursday in New Delhi that Nigeria and other African countries must work harder to achieve greater political stability and security before they can enjoy the full benefits of partnership arrangements such as the India-Africa Forum.
Addressing the Plenary Session of the 3rd Summit of the Forum, President Buhari said that to attract the massive investment in-flows which they need to overcome the challenges of unemployment and wealth creation, Nigeria and other African countries must also establish policy environments that guarantee the sanctity of contracts on the basis of the rule of law.
The President told the gathering that since its inception in May this year, his administration has been working with determination to establish these preconditions for rapid socio-economic development and re-focus governance on the real needs of ordinary Nigerians.
“As a Government, we have demonstrated our strong determination to change the direction and content of governance, including the management of our resources through accountability, transparency and result-orientation in governance.
“We are confident that India, as a tested friend and dependable partner, will always stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the discharge of the mandate entrusted to us by our people,” President Buhari said.
The President expressed the hope that the India-Africa Forum will deepen, in practical terms, the South-South Cooperation that countries of the South have desired for so long.
“The current international economic and political environment is far from being favourable, particularly for developing countries. Fresh political conflicts have erupted, accentuated by terrorism and extremism in the most awful forms.
“Trans-border crimes, illegal arms trade, irregular migration and cybercrimes have all added to the new global threats that demand our collective action.
“Furthermore, the world is facing the challenge of Climate Change in which Africa remains badly affected with severe threats to food security and social stability.
“From the West to the East, North to South, virtually every country in our respective regions is faced with unacceptable levels of poverty, unemployment and a youth bulge.
“India and Africa must develop a new spirit of solidarity, cooperation and partnership to confront these emerging threats. We must recognise that, in this globalised age, we all live interconnected lives in a fragile planet. We must therefore work together to uplift the lives of our people in a manner that preserves the sustainability of our living environment.
“These challenges call for a renewed sense of urgency among African countries for economic development. It is an open secret that Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth region of the world.
“There is therefore the need for India and Africa to strive together to build a virile framework for partnership and cooperation in order to address common challenges in key areas including health, education, interconnectivity, power and employment generation as well as the strengthening of institutions of governance and democracy,” President Buhari told Prime Minister Narendra Modi and African Heads of State and Government.
The President said that although African countries have a number of partnership arrangements with other countries of the world, the India-Africa Forum promises to be different “as it is not only a partnership between friends, but between countries and peoples who have had similar historical experiences of colonial rule”.
He noted that the immense potential of the forum was already evident in the growing volume and improved terms of trade between Africa and India as well as the increasing presence of several Indian enterprises in Africa.