By Abdulfatah Babatunde
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reaffirmed Africa’s unity and strength and strongly rejected the notion of a new scramble for Africa on Sunday in Nairobi, Kenya.
The President made the affirmation at the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting (5thMYCM) of the African Union (AU) and other relevant fora of the continental body as well as the African Union Member-States.
Tinubu warned that past plundering and exploitation of the continent should remain in the past and never be repeated.
As Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority, Tinubu announced plans to strengthen the sub-regional Standby Forces to deter coups and combat terrorism.
He highlighted the progress made by ECOWAS in various sectors of its integration process, including trade, free movement of persons, investment promotion, infrastructure development, and security.
In his presentation entitled “Address on Status of Regional Integration in ECOWAS,” Tinubu emphasized the need for Africa to overcome its challenges and work towards a prosperous future.
He urged member-countries to focuse on inclusive growth, good governance and leveraging the opportunities provided by African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He called for good governance to ensure a prosperous future for Africa, free from the exploitations of the past.
“As Africans, we forge ahead no matter the barriers thrust before us.
“The world we inhabit is often unkind and uncertain. History and current global difficulties argue against our future success.
‘“Lessons of the past teach us that world economy can be disrupted in ways that halt progress and invite downturn.
“Our nations can suddenly find themselves in dire situations if we choose to be passive observers of our fate.
“’Such passivity does not commend itself to me. I will not listen to it. Neither should any African.
“The challenges we face mean that governance will be difficult. ‘They also mean that visionary good governance is necessary.
“Some observers assert new scramble for Africa is afoot and much like the old scramble that plundered our continent.
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“Let it be said to whomever new scramblers might be that our continent may be old but our spirit is new, and strong.
“The bad that took place in the past must stay there; it shall never be repeated,” President Tinubu said.
On peace, security and stability, the Nigerian leader acknowledged the challenges facing the sub-region, including terrorism and anti-constitutional changes in the government.
“We sit here in meaningful discussion of vital economic matters.
“Yet, it will be impossible to bring full meaning to what we attempt unless we give due consideration to the instability and conflict that now scar many of our nations.”
According to him, the fullness of the integration desired by the nations will elude them.
“This is as long as several of our nations stand amid violence and war.”
President Tinubu also provided an update on the energy sector in the region.
He expressed delight that the region had implemented several generation and interconnection projects.
He spoke of two giant electricity projects that have connected all the 15 West African countries.
These are the completion of the electric interconnection between Cote d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone- Guinee (1,300 km) and between Senegal-The Gambia-Guinea Bissau and Guinea (1,700 km).
“’The completion of Information and Coordination Centre of West African Power Pool will enable member-states to buy and sell electricity.
“This centre will act as a regional system operator within the framework of the regional electricity market,” he said.
The ECOWAS chairperson also provided updates on investment promotion and the ECOWAS Cybersecurity Agenda to combat cybercrime and improve cybersecurity capabilities in member states.
President Tinubu expressed his honour to participate, for the first time, in the Mid-Year Meeting of AU.
He commended AU members for strengthening collaboration and coordination between the continental and regional bodies.
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