President Muhammadu Buhari says the resolution of conflict in African countries remains a key component in the overall development of the continent.
According to Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari said this at the opening session of an ongoing forum for sustainable peace and development in Africa, holding in Egypt.
The president was quoted as saying Africa must take its destiny in its own hands by minimising reliance on donor funding for the execution of its vital peace, security and development agenda.
“As Africans, it is important to focus on the issues of conflict prevention and resolution. Conflicts have devastating effects on our societies and they militate against our progress. In this regard, the need to silence the guns cannot be overemphasized,” Buhari said.
“Nigeria is not only host to our sub-regional body ECOWAS but has also been supporting substantially the ECOWAS budget up to about 60 percent.
“Nigeria has been funding by almost a 100 percent the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) fighting Boko Haram Terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin.”
He added that the menace of corruption undermines “our efforts to achieve sustainable development and realize the goals of the AU Agenda 2063”.
“It is also important to attach great priority to the promotion of good and inclusive governance as we equally strive to empower our women and youth.”
The president urged African leaders to see education as a key tool for the transformation and repositioning of the continent, saying “education creates opportunities and holds the key for a better and prosperous future of our people”.
He added that his administration was “pursuing the diversification of our economy through the development of agriculture and mineral resources, the promotion of manufacturing sector and the creation of job opportunities for our teeming youths”.
“By so doing, we will also discourage the irregular migration of our youth out of the continent through dangerous journeys.”
Buhari equally emphasised that massive investment in transportation infrastructure was necessary for African economic resurgence as this would facilitate the African Continental Free Trade Agreement recently signed on by the continental leaders.
He said: “Africa should embark on the provision of transport connectivity by enhancing the development of roads, rail, and air links which will ease the free movement of persons, goods and services within the continent.
“In this regard, we in Nigeria have already commenced an aggressive drive to upgrade our rail transport system and road networks across the country.
“We should furthermore promote free trade within and amongst Africa and Africans especially now that we have launched the African Free Trade Area Agreement.”