President Bola Tinubu on Monday said democracy without food
on the table is a breeding ground for what will consume the people, if care is
The President also advanced his economic development
diplomatic drive for investment attraction as he engaged extensively in a
bilateral discussion with South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in New York
City, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly.
President Tinubu asserted that Africa must have a consensus
view that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent through International
Development Finance Institutions over the years must meet the specific needs of
developing democracies in Africa, even if it is done with exclusive regard for
their own enlightened self-interest.
According to him, “During the end of the Second World War,
the Marshall Plan was established for the reconstruction and economic
restoration of European nations through Bretton Woods institutions. Where has
this presence been for Africa?
“We have to be careful not to replace the broken shackle of
yesterday with a new set of shackles. You cannot have a stable democracy in the
presence of poverty of knowledge and a starvation of people.
“Democracy without food on the table is a breeding ground
for what will consume us, if care is not taken. We must join hands and agree
that International Finance Institutions require reform as Africa is not to be a
ground for economic scavenging any longer, but it is a place with gifted people
that is ready for investment and cooperation.
“We have all the human and natural resources required
between our nations. We can collaborate in a mutually beneficial way that
enriches our populations. South African Mining industries have a role to play
in the Nigerian solid minerals development sector. Your business community has
done well in Nigerian Telecommunications.
“We have great mineral wealth across our land, and you have
good expertise in this area. We expect to deliver jobs and mutually beneficial
results in this area as brother and sister countries,” the President affirmed.
Referencing President Tinubu’s quick implementation of what
he called “brave” economic reforms, the South African President agreed that the
two countries have much more wealth to create together in close and intentional
partnership, with each nation leveraging on each other’s respective strengths.
“We are two major economies on our continent, and it is
important that we deepen economic ties, particularly in light of the African
Continental Free Trade Agreement. We are very keen on the deepening of our
economic relations,” the South African President said.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President
on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, said the South African President
emphasized that history has proven that Nigeria and South Africa can move the
world on matters of mutual concern when the two nations operate on the same
He said, “We would love to see Nigeria and South Africa
working closely together on a number of issues because whenever we join hands,
we have made an impact globally through those joint positions. Together, we can
move the global south forward.
“We are a continent that has been plundered. And wealthy
nations made so much of it from us, and we must seek out partners who will help
us to advance our own interests,” the South African President emphasized.
Recognising President Tinubu’s effective stewardship as the
Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, the South African leader
said that Southern Africa needed to emulate the solidarity being demonstrated
in West Africa, following the Niger Crisis.
“We believe that we have a lot to learn from ECOWAS and its
unity in reaching consensus positions on sub-regional matters. This is
something we seek to emulate in the Southern African sub-region in view of
events in Mozambique and other areas,” President Ramaphosa said.
The South African leader also used the opportunity of the
bilateral engagement to extend an invitation to President Bola Tinubu to visit
South Africa, following President Ramaphosa’s recent visit to Nigeria, as part
of efforts to deepen economic ties and strengthen relationship between both
While accepting the invitation, President Tinubu affirmed
that an Africa, in which Nigeria and South Africa are working in synergy to
advance their common interests, is the strongest version of the continent,
which can make more impact on global affairs for the benefit of over one
billion Africans with its enormous human and natural resource wealth.
“Our continent is the last untapped ground for accelerated,
massive growth and new economic opportunity on earth. We must be in charge of
our own resources, and we must work to use each other effectively to achieve
what is best for all of us, Mr. President. We look forward to an era of
economically productive relationship,” the Nigerian leader concluded.