Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi (II), has criticised the Federal Government for failing to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Sanusi said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the launching of the Association Peer-Review Journal and the Inaugural Lecture with the theme, ‘The New International System: A Diplomat’s Nightmare.’
The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who was the chairman on the occasion, said it was ironic that Nigeria had signed many trade deals with European and Asian countries but was failing to replicate it in Africa.
The monarch said Africa would not develop if the continent continued to promote the interests of other continents ahead of its own.
Sanusi said, “A point I would like to place on the table is something that happened recently which I found very embarrassing when we were supposed to sign an agreement on a treaty for intra-African trade and the two biggest economies in Africa – Nigeria and South Africa – opted not to sign.
“I could not believe it. I could not believe that we are ready to sign the World Trade Organisation agreements; we are ready to trade with Europe, China, with America but we are not ready to trade with other African countries.
“I could not see how the two biggest economies in Africa who were supposed to provide the leadership (sic). Look at Europe where 65 per cent of trade is intra-Europe and look at what it has done to the people of Europe. Only 10 per cent of our trade is with African countries.”
The emir said refusing to trade with Africa would only engender poverty on the continent.
“Imagine if you had trade between Kano and Morocco; between the Sahel and North Africa?” he asked.
The former CBN governor asked Nigeria to immediately increase its trade to between 20-35 per cent with other African countries, adding that trade within South-East Asian countries is 35 per cent.
“But you cannot move without those agreements without being part of that process,” he said.
Sanusi urged the Federal Government to tailor its foreign policy more towards domestic and economic policies.
He said in the 1960s and 1970s, Africa did better because it was at the centre of international politics.
The monarch said today Africa had become only good for exploitation as capital was moved from the continent to other western countries but when poverty increased on the continent and the people wanted to relocate to those western countries in search of labour, they were treated in a hostile manner.
Sanusi added, “When we go to sit with the President of France, let us not talk about how many soldiers and guns he can give us. Ask him how many solar panels can you put in the Sahel that will generate electricity and create industries and jobs and then stop people from going to France.”
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