President Bola Tinubu on Monday called for stronger economic and diplomatic ties with South Africa, to forge a common front in tackling the continent’s economic challenges.
The President stated this during a bilateral discussion with South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in New York, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Tinubu asserted that Africa must have a consensus view that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent through International Development Finance Institutions over the years must meet the specific needs of developing democracies in Africa, even if it is done with exclusive regard for their own enlightened self-interest.
He recalled that during the end of the Second World War, the Marshall Plan was established for the reconstruction and economic restoration of European nations through Bretton Woods institutions.
The Nigerian leader, while querying where this presence been for Africa? , added that ” We must have to be careful not to replace the broken shackle of yesterday with a new set of shackles.
“You can not have a stable democracy in the presence of a poverty of knowledge and a starvation of people. Democracy without food on the table is a breeding ground for what will consume us, if care is not taken,” Tinubu said.
“We must join hands and agree that International Finance Institutions require reform as Africa is not to be a ground for economic scavenging any longer, but it is a place with gifted people that is ready for investment and cooperation.
“We have all the human and natural resources required between our nations. We can collaborate in a mutually beneficial way that enriches our populations. South African Mining industries have a role to play in the Nigerian solid minerals development sector.”
He recalled how South Africa’s businesses have done well in Nigeria, especially in the Telecommunications sector.
“We have great mineral wealth across our land, and you have good expertise in this area. We expect to deliver jobs and mutually beneficial results in this area as brother and sister countries,” Nigeria’s president said.
The South African President, while referencing Tinubu’s quick implementation of what he called “brave” economic reforms, agreed that the two countries have much more wealth to create together in close and intentional partnership, with each nation leveraging on each other’s respective strengths.
“We are two major economies on our continent, and it is important that we deepen economic ties, particularly in light of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. We are very keen on the deepening of our economic relations,” Ramaphosa said.
The South African President emphasised that history has proven that Nigeria and South Africa can move the world on matters of mutual concern when the two nations operate on the same wavelength.
“We would love to see Nigeria and South Africa working closely together on a number of issues because whenever we join hands, we have made an impact globally through those joint positions. Together, we can move the global south forward. We are a continent that has been plundered. And wealthy nations made so much of it from us, and we must seek out partners who will help us to advance our own interests,” he said.
Recognizing President Tinubu’s effective stewardship as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, the South African leader said that Southern Africa needed to emulate the solidarity being demonstrated in West Africa, following the Niger Crisis.
“We believe that we have a lot to learn from ECOWAS and its unity in reaching consensus positions on sub-regional matters. This is something we seek to emulate in the Southern African sub-region in view of events in Mozambique and other areas,” President Ramaphosa said.
The South African leader also used the opportunity of the bilateral engagement to extend an invitation to President Bola Tinubu to visit South Africa, following President Ramaphosa’s recent visit to Nigeria, as part of efforts to deepen economic ties and the broader relationship between both countries.
While accepting the invitation, President Tinubu affirmed that an Africa, in which Nigeria and South Africa are working in synergy to advance their common interests, is the strongest version of the continent, which can make more impact on global affairs for the benefit of over one billion Africans with its enormous human and natural resource wealth.
“Our continent is the last untapped ground for accelerated, massive growth and new economic opportunity on earth. We must be in charge of our own resources, and we must work to use each other effectively to achieve what is best for all of us, Mr. President. We look forward to an era of economically productive relationship,” the Nigerian leader concluded.