A former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, says stronger leadership is critical to the economic development of the African continent.
Mr Obasanjo said this on Friday at the ongoing 2018 Afreximbank Annual Meetings in Abuja.
He said Africa had the human, mineral, and capital resources as well as strong institutions to become a “heaven on earth,” yet it wasn’t living up to its potential due to weak leadership.
He said: “We are not where we should be, but we have moved away from where we were.
“It is obvious from what we have started to see with the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“The signing of the AfCFTA is historic and it shows that at last Africans are beginning to work together.
“The talk of establishing the AfCFTA has been there since the African Union was established. Imagine how long it took for it to become a reality.
“I remember what happened in Kigali, a day before the signing.
“We were not sure if 20 countries would sign; so it was a surprise when 44 countries signed that day,” he said.
Nigeria is among the few African countries yet to sign the AfCFTA. However, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday that he would soon sign hte agreement after intially stallling.
On Friday, Mr Obasanjo called for closer collaboration amongst African leaders.
He also urged them to emulate countries that were doing well and also learn not to make the same mistakes that had already been made by others.
Mr Obasanjo, who pointed out that the African population was rising at an astronomical rate, said that it was imperative to ensure that the right policies were made to improve the economy and create jobs.
He cited the telecommunications sector in Nigeria as a success story of how Africans were the architect of their own future.
The former president called on Nigerian women to go into politics and vie for offices, especially gubernatorial and senatorial seats in the coming elections in Nigeria.