Daily Trust (Abuja)

Africa: Poverty'll Persist in Africa Unless...

President Goodluck Jonathan says the only way to tackle poverty in Africa is to make the continent an economic bloc.

Jonathan said this in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday at a joint press conference with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta.

"We're looking forward to the day that the whole of Africa will be an economic bloc where we can move just like the European Union arrangements. That is the only way we can create wealth for our people and we'll no longer be talking of poverty alleviation," he said.

He warned African leaders against policies that could hinder intra-African trade and unity, stressing the need for collaboration among African nations.

Jonathan said: "If you go to Europe, trade within the EU nations is about 70 per cent, thereby, telling the rest of the world that they can survive without going outside the EU.

Jonathan, who identified administrative constraints in terms of visa restriction, consular and immigration issues as factors inhibiting trade and free movement of goods and services within the continent, urged regional blocs such as the East African Economic Community (EAEC) and ECOWAS to formulate policies that would encourage trade.

Kenyatta described Jonathan's visit as an indication of a strong brotherly relation between both nations, saying the agreements signed yesterday would strengthen their bond. The agreements include visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passports as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on the conclusion of agreements on double taxation and the promotion and protection of investments.

Also signed were the agreements on agriculture, tourism, trade and investment and oil and gas.

In a communiqué read by Kenyan Cabinet Secretary on Trade and Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed, both leaders resolved to establish a Nigeria-Kenya Bi-national Commission to strengthen their cooperation.

Earlier, Jonathan laid wreath at the Mausoleum of the First President of Kenya, late Jomo Kenyatta.

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