President Bola Tinubu has rejected any notion of a new scramble for Africa, saying that the continent should never again endure the plundering and exploitation of its resources.
This is as he has called for collective commitment to leave behind the dark chapters of Africa’s past, ensure they are not repeated, and attention directed towards a prosperous future for the continent.
The president spoke, yesterday, at the fifth mid-year coordination meeting (5thMYCM) of the African Union (AU), the regional economic communities (RECs), regional mechanisms (RMs), and the AU member states.
Tinubu acknowledged the challenges faced by Africa, including terrorism and unconstitutional change of government, saying that the fullness of the integration sought would be impossible as long as several nations stood in the midst of violence and war.
A statement by his spokesperson, Dele Alake, quoted Tinubu as announcing plans to strengthen the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Standby Force to deter coups and combat terrorism in the sub-region.
In his capacity as the chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, Tinubu, in his statement entitled “Address on Status of Regional Integration in ECOWAS,” emphasised the need for Africa to overcome its challenges and work towards a prosperous future. He also spoke on the need to focus on inclusive growth, good governance, and leveraging the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Calling for good governance to ensure a prosperous future for Africa, free from the exploitations of the past, Tinubu said: “As Africans, we forge ahead no matter the barriers thrust before us. The world we inhabit is often unkind and uncertain. Past history and current global difficulties argue against our future success. Lessons of the past few years teach us that the world economy can be disrupted in ways that halt progress and invite downturn. Our nations can suddenly find themselves in dire situations if we choose to be passive observers of our fate.
“Such passivity does not commend itself to me. I will not listen to it. Neither should any African. The challenges we face mean that governance will be difficult. They also mean that visionary good governance is necessary. Some observers assert a new scramble for Africa is afoot and it is much like the old scramble that plundered our continent. But, here and now, let it be said to whomever the new scramblers might be that our continent may be old but our spirit is new. And it is strong. The bad that took place in the past must stay there. It shall never be repeated.”
On peace, security, and stability, Tinubu acknowledged the challenges faced by the sub-region, including terrorism and anti-constitutional changes in government.
He said the trade and commerce sought by African nations refers to valued goods and services that improve life.
“The trade and commerce these nations suffer is of destruction and disorder that takes lives and steals opportunity. We cannot integrate Africa and attain the prosperity we seek while our nearby brothers and sisters suffer in pain and anguish, they should not suffer. We must advance as one continent toward peace and prosperity. Otherwise, we risk the creation of two or more Africa, one a select group of nations moving steadily while the rest remain trapped in the age-old mire of poverty, conflict and lack of hope.”