Former Ghanaian President, John Mahama, says African leaders must be bold and take the destiny of the region into the hands of Africans.
Mahama said this at a lecture organized by the Department of State Service, for its Officers Course 10 participants, in Abuja on Thursday.
He spoke on “Challenges of Governance and Development in Africa”.
Mahama said: “African destiny lies in the hands of Africans. We cannot expect that anybody will come from anywhere to develop our continent and nations for us. We must take our destinies into our own hands. And it is possible to do.
“Today, Africa is the most dynamic continent when you come to telecommunications, especially when it comes to mobile telecommunication. We have the fastest growing broadband access than any other part o the world.
“Today mobile money developed in Kenya has become the model for the rest of the world and is being copied in East Asia and other parts of the world, spreading across the countries.
“What we did in telecom, we can do in energy. Today everybody has phone allowing people to communicate. Spread Energy throughout Africa.
“We can do same in energy by putting in place the appropriate policy to enable power supply spread across the continent. There is no way we can develop and catch with the rest of the world if we do not have power because we need power to establish those businesses and build capacity, and we cannot compete if we use power from expensive sources.
“Nigeria should produce petroleum and export to the rest of Africa. This is not a development paradigm that the developed nations enthused about, “And the earlier we work on our continental security and put our interest above external interest, no matter the consequences, the sooner we realize the benefits as a continent.
Mahama wondered why Africa countries still puts more impediments into their way by preventing trade among themselves.
” Looking at the economies of the world, there have been key drivers of these economies. Japan is critical in South East Asia in the process that put them in the strategic position they are. I believe that in our part of the world, there are countries that are capable to do that. In Southern African region, South Africa as a country is doing that by investing in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Nigeria.
“I believe in West Africa, Nigeria has a central responsibility in the region. It cannot shelve that responsibility because it is not only the largest economy in West Africa; it is the second largest economy in Africa.
“If Nigeria gets its economy right, and accelerate its economy and impacts in the economy of West African trade in the sub region, it will drive other 14 West African countries.
“Until we retool ourselves, we will not benefit from the critical mass that we need to develop. All our trade channels are channeled externally. Most of our trade directions tilt towards Europe.Total trade among African countries is about 11 percent, the lowest compared with other regions of the world.”
What we need to do “We need to take away those barriers, artificially placed by colonial masters. Even if we maintain those barriers created for political purposes, our countries need to open up those borders for economic purposes, he said.”