Africa needs $90b for infrastructure development yearly, says Obasanjo
Canvasses Sino-Africa relations to eradicate poverty
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the African continent needed an estimated $90 billion yearly to improve and develop infrastructure, as well as eradicate poverty.He stressed that it would not be a bad idea if China could provide $10 billion of the estimated amount every year for a period of 10 years.
Speaking yesterday at the first conference of Abuja Forum Series, co-hosted by the Gasau Institute and Centre for Nigeria Studies at the Institute of Africa Studies, Obasanjo said to reduce poverty in Africa, the continent should enter into a strategic partnership with China, which must be constantly and mutually massaged.He explained that the relationship could be arranged strategically with resources coming from China to Africa, adding: “It can be a grant, short and medium-term concessional or long-term loan, which should be evolved and strengthened.
“Again, education, skills acquisition and capacity development, infrastructure and trade must be covered but education should essentially be covered mostly by grant through official development aid assistance, while trade and infrastructure should be covered by concessional short, medium-term and long-term loan.”He pointed out that within a space of about one generation from 1981 to 2012, China has lifted 500 million people from poverty, saying chronic poverty in China fell from 88 per cent to 6.5 per cent in 2012.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Africa needs China, indeed Asia, as they need us because anybody who understand the depth of the Chinese immersion into the Confucian philosophy, their ability to stay focused and stick to longer term plan will not cast away such relationship.
“Some may get confused at understanding the Chinese mindset, culture and process of a people who write the word crisis with two symbols, one denoting danger and the other denoting opportunities,” he stated.He, therefore, suggested that China should establish peace and solidarity corps and send them to Africa to interact and impact knowledge, training and experience in small, medium-size agribusinesses and housing with local materials in rural and suburban areas.
Obasanjo, who stressed the need for African leaders to learn from China, stated that poverty reduction should be the main objective of Sino-Africa relations and partnership, adding that China had impacted Africa for good in the past and it is recognised and appreciated.
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