President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday enjoined African countries, including Nigeria, to establish policy environments that would guarantee the sanctity of contracts on the basis of the rule of law.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the president, Mallam Garba Shehu, said President Buhari made the call at the plenary of the third Summit of the India-Africa Forum in New Delhi, India.
He said the call had become imperative if African countries must attract the massive investment in-flows which they needed to overcome the challenges of unemployment and wealth creation.
He also stressed the need for African countries to work harder to achieve greater political stability and security before they could enjoy the full benefits of partnership arrangements such as the India-Africa Forum.
The President disclosed that since its inception in May this year, his administration had been working with determination to establish the 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,’’ he said.
The president, therefore, expressed the hope that the India-Africa Forum would deepen, in practical terms, the South-South Cooperation that countries of the South had desired for so long.
According to him, the current international economic and political environment is far from being favourable, particularly for developing countries, noting that fresh political conflicts have erupted, accentuated by terrorism and extremism in the most awful forms.
“Trans-border crimes, illegal arms trade, irregular migration and cyber crimes 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.’’
President Buhari, therefore, maintained that 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.
According to the president, these challenges call for a renewed sense of urgency among African countries for economic development.
He said that, “It is an open secret that Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth region of the world.’’
Buhari, therefore, stressed the need for India and Africa to strive together to build a virile framework for partnership and cooperation, to address common challenges in key areas.
He said the areas included health, education, interconnectivity, power and employment generation as well as the strengthening of institutions of governance and democracy.
The president said that although African countries had a number of partnership arrangements with other countries of the world, “the India-Africa Forum promises to be different.’’
According to him, the India-Africa Forum 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.(NAN)