Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says that basic education and good governance will boost intra-African trade. Obasanjo said this at the ongoing 24th Annual General Meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Friday in Kigali.
He said that there should be education for all, adding that it was the foundation for development
According to him, at least basic education is required by all to enable citizens to read and write and be useful to himself, his country and his neighbors.
He said it was only when all were educated that the problem of cross-border trade would grow and also hasten the economic integration of the continent.
The former president also expressed concern that lack of good governance in Africa due to massive corruption, impunity, and inconsistency in fiscal policies had impeded the growth of trade in Africa.
“When these stop, Africans will then begin to have basic needs of life and develop trade across borders.
“Thriving shipping companies owned by African countries and harmonized fiscal policies will lead to better life for Africans and a booming cross-border trade.
“A situation where an African fills two separate documents to enter another country will not help African trade, rather it will retard trade and development,’’ he said.
Obasanjo appealed to African leaders to believe in their own, adding that a facility from Afreximbank, African Development Bank, and others owned by Africans was better than obtained elsewhere.
He stressed the need for African leaders to understudy capitalism and learn how to deal with it.
According to him, how will one explain the exportation of raw materials to Europe at a cheaper prize and buy the finished raw material in an exorbitant prize?
He said the World Bank and IMF and other western finance institutions were designed by the western world to sooth the western world, adding that the institutions had “bitter pills an African must swallow’’.
“No one can run away from the institutions’ bitter pills because the pills have been designed in such way that if you swallow it, you will fail and if you don’t, you will still fail.
“During my tenure as president of Nigeria, I told the then Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Charles Soludo that when these institutions come don’t chase them away but just listen to them and learn how to deal with the overtures.
“So, I was able to study capitalism and approached our creditors to do something about my country’s debt, which was in billions of dollars and they listened. A large chunk of the debt was written off,” he said.
Obasanjo said that Africans were not weak but their mindset about themselves had been the problem.
According to him, Africans should desist from saying to these institutions; just help me, I am in a problem without understanding what his country wants before taking a facility?