Obasanjo calls for ECOWAS economic integration, common currency
Africa’s future lies in agric, says Aregbesola
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday tasked the new President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Marcel A. De-Souza to ensure economic integration among member- countries, lamenting that 41 years after its creation, the region “has not moved fast enough to get to desired land.”
Obasanjo who played host to the new President at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta attributed the development to lack of ‘political will’ to move the region faster than it is.
In another development, Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said the African continent would remain underdeveloped unless it’s agriculture forms the fulcrum of its economy.
Going down memory lane, Obasanjo recalled that when ECOWAS was established 41 yeas ago, “the expectation of all of us was very high, I think we will not be fair to ourselves if we do not say to ourselves that we have not moved as fast and as far but as you have rightly said there has been issues that were unexpected.
“We never expected that internal conflicts will engage the attention of ECOWAS as much as it has engaged our attention in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, in Cote D’ Ivoire just to mention a few. So the attention that we should have paid to the original objectives which are economic integration, economic development, progress, have been diverted.
“Of course, peace and security is the foundation of any socio economic development and growth. Of necessity we have to pay attention to security.”
The former President stated: “There is need for reform within the commission, moving ourselves beyond movement of goods and services.
We have not really moved in the area of economic integration and that we should do.”
Aregbesola who spoke at the 6th Toyin Falola Annual International Conference (TOFAC) 2016 organised by the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State on Monday noted that the continent must as a necessity graduate from being only source of raw materials to the west for it to be an economic power house among developed nations of the world.
He disclosed that the need to return to agriculture informed his administration’s pioneering of food revolution in Osun so the state can feed it’s people.
“Africa’s economy should be re-oriented away from its present Eurocentrism to Afrocentrism. We are not going to be an economic powerhouse if our agriculture consists mainly of producing the raw materials for others industrial production.
“I pioneered food revolution in Osun by encouraging farmers to plant food crops, in order to feed our people. Africa should do the same. Our mineral resources should be developed to feed our industries, instead of feeding Euro-American and now Asian industries,” Aregbesola said.
The governor also reiterated the need to review the nation’s education system with a view to laying emphasis on skill acquisition so as to produce resourceful graduates who can generate employment rather than be perennial job-seekers.