African trade: Obasanjo calls for establishment of coastal shipping system

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for the establishment of coastal shipping system to enhance trading within Africa.

He submitted that the step would increased the share of inter-African trade in the region total trade by 10 per cent.

The former president said this while playing host to the National Council on Trade and Investment led by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enalamah, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar and members of relevant committees of the National Assembly

The delegation were in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, for the 8th edition of National Council on Trade and Investment meeting with the theme: “Diversification of the Nigerian Economy From Over Dependence on Oil Exports.”

Obasanjo emphasised the need for African countries to explore trading opportunities in the state continent so as to boost their economies, while calling for the removal of all barriers against intra-African trade.

The former president also called for  the establishment of commodity exchange for agricultural goods produced in Africa.

He said:  “I want to disabuse the minds of our people against the notion that the level of trading among ourselves will be low because we are producing the same goods.

“Let us note that Britain and France produce the same goods and yet there is strong trding between the two countries.

“The same thing happens between Germany and France as well as among European countries and between Europe and America.

“In any case let Nigeria who is advanced in the production of noodles sell to Angola where the goods are in heavy demand.

“Let Kenya who is very good at producing Kiwi polish and cashew nuts sell to Nigeria first and not to Europe and we in Nigeria would in turn sell our goods for which we have comparative advantage to Kenya.

“All I know as I was growing up is farming and trading and this re the professions that my parents used to send me to school.”

The minister in his remarks appreciated the former president for his commitment to the development of the country.