President Goodluck Jonathan, Thursday in Abuja, urged African leaders to do more to fully develop and exploit their countries' comparative economic advantages over other parts of the world, for the benefit of each country's citizens. Speaking at an audience with Botswana's new Ambassador to Nigeria, Louis Matshewenyego Fisher, Mr. Jonathan said that African countries must evolve and implement policies that will maximise their economic potentials to move away from current "dependency" partnerships with the industrialised nations of the world.
The President urged the continent's leaders to focus more on building domestic capacity around the strengths of their economies, instead of wasting their efforts on areas in which they lack a competitive edge. While acknowledging the inter-connectivity of the world economy, the Nigerian President said that globalization will work better when African countries take greater advantage of their human and natural resources to enhance their ability to compete effectively with other regions in world trade.
He also said Africa's competitiveness could be further boosted through increased regional trade and horizontal investment partnerships. "I want to insist that our diplomacy should be based more on trade and economic relations. We must encourage trade between our people and I see that relationship as the bedrock for diplomacy," he told Mr. Fisher.
Mr. Jonathan, while speaking with the new Ambassador of Czech Republic to Nigeria, Pavel Mikes; new Ambassador of Republic of Kuwait to Nigeria, Abdulla Ahmed Al-Sharrah; and the new Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Perry Calderwood; emphasised the need for partnerships that can boost the economies of Nigeria and other African nations. The new envoys presented their letters of credence to the Nigerian president.
The president said the growing youth population in Africa was an advantage for the continent, saying that Africa's largely youthful population gives the continent a competitive edge over other parts of the world by providing a vast labour pool for investors and a huge market for products and services. "Most Western countries have a population that is largely elderly. We have a larger population of youth in Nigeria and most African countries. But we must do more to ensure that they are meaningfully engaged and that will involve confronting the challenge of unemployment head long," he said.
He congratulated all the new ambassadors on their posting to Nigeria and wished them success in their efforts to boost bilateral relations between Nigeria and their countries. The ambassadors thanked President Jonathan for receiving them and assured him that they will work hard to further enhance existing trade, economic, and cultural cooperation between Nigeria and their countries.