Obasanjo urges African Corporation to sustain programmes for growth

FORMER Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the African Finance Corporation (AFC) to ensure continuity in all its endeavors to ensure growth of Nigeria and Africa.

Obasanjo made the call during a panel discussion on Foundation for Growth at the 10th Africa Finance Corporation Summit on Tuesday in Abuja.

“We in Africa have done a few things right, part of our problem is that we do not continue to do things right.

“In Nigeria for instance, we did the Universal Primary Education right; we did the Universal Basic Education right and also the Primary Health but we did not continue to do it right.

“In 10 years time, if AFC continues to do things right, it will be a big umbrella not only for Nigeria but for Africa.

The former president commended the efforts of the AFC towards ensuring provision of infrastructure in Africa, in spite of its rough beginning due to lack of understanding by its past leaders.

He said the corporation had been able to thrive, in spite of the instability and uncertainties in the economies of the world.

He said that peace, integration and good leadership were the three factors necessary for the corporation to increase its investment in infrastructure in Africa.

“With these three factors, I see an AFC that will become a household name everywhere in Africa; I see an AFC that will be competing and complementing the World Bank, if not overtaking it.

“I think is also very important for us to believe in ourselves.

“There are many things that are wrong but while we are thinking about those things that are wrong we should also commend ourselves about things that are right,’’ he said.

Obasanjo explained that AFC was a dream dreamt by Africans, conceived by Africans, nurtured by Africans, delivered by Africans, executed by Africans and sustained by Africans.

He said that if all African countries came together and worked together, they would be able to achieve on the mandate of the corporation.

Prof Chukwuma Soludo, the First Chairman, AFC and former Governor of the CBN, expressed optimism that the corporation would increase its membership to 54 nations in the next 10 years.

According to him, there is no limit in terms of what is possible for the corporation, given Africans need and potential and the resources out there.

He said that AFC could be just about anything it wanted for Africa if Africans put their minds on it.

“I will say that we are there but the road ahead is still long. The entire sub-Saharan Africa is just the size of Belgium in economic terms.

“Several studies have shown that about 40 per cent of non land private wealth of Africans happen to be outside of Africa.

“The missing link is really creating the kind of platforms to unleash Africa capital to be able to move across border.

“AFC was a dream to provide that platform where African capital can become as the missing link to link the “articulated Belgium’’ and today that expectancy has been working well,’’ he said.

Also Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings, urged the corporation to attract more capital to Africa in 10 years.

“AFC should help bring the much needed capital from the rest of the world into Africa and begin to create an advocacy arm that will help to educate the African governments.

“Infrastructure does not do well where government does not do well; for AFC to succeed in its drive, we need to get the public sector doing the right thing.

“Engaging the political leaders to create the right environment that will enable the capital, that when they bring it, it is able to stay in Africa is very important,’’ Elumelu said.

Elumelu commended the AFC leadership, saying it had a World Class leadership that had sewn great seeds, which should be properly nurtured to ensure growth.

He said the corporation was leading to address most of the trade issues in Africa, including infrastructure like ports, rail ways and power and it to continue to do more.