Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the government of the Peoples Republic of China to earmark at least $10 billion annually to support infrastructure provision in Africa for a period of 10-years.
He said the gesture will help Africa to bridge the challenge of infrastructure deficit in the continent.
It is estimated that Africa needs some $90 billion for infrastructure yearly. “It will not be a bad idea if China can provide $10 billion of that amount every year for a period of 10years in the first instance,” Dr. Obasanjo said yesterday. He said the gesture can be done through China Development Bank, China Exim Bank and the proposed Infrastructure Development Fund along with the World Bank.
Besides that, the former head of state suggested “that China should establish ‘Peace and Solidarity Corps’, members of which will be sent to Africa to interact and impact knowledge, training and experience in small scale and medium-size agribusiness, housing with local materials in rural and suburban areas. The corps can also be useful in rural road development and healthcare.” Obasanjo made the remarks yesterday in his keynote address at the first conference of the Abuja Forum series tagged “A New Era for China-Africa Cooperation: Partnership for Peace, Secuirity and Development” held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. The forum was organized by Gusau Institute.
Obasanjo noted that wherever the conditions for peace, security and stability is lacking, there can never be durable peace, security and stability. It is when the leadership shows the way that the citizenry will follow and outsiders will render assistance and helping hand, he added.
He also called on African leaders to “learn, understand and operationalize the nature of the Chinese and how they penetrated the league of industrialised nations and become the biggest creditor of the world’s biggest power. Then, we would sing eureka that this relationship is mutually beneficial.”
Obasanjo said resources coming from China to africa, i.e., grant, short, medium-term and long-term concessional loan should be evolved and strengthened. He urged that three key areas: education, skill acquisition and capacity development aid assistance should be covered.
In his welcome speech, founder of the Gusau Institute, retired Gen. Aliyu Gusau Mohammed, said the forum that drew leaders from across country including former former President of Benin, Buni Yayi, Nigerian former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was organized to allow stakeholders interact with other other and find practicable solution to the African insecurity challenges.
In his remarks, deputy head of mission of China to Nigeria, Mr. Lin Jin observed that security and stability are cornerstones of development and prosperity. “We are of the view that in solving security issues, both the symptoms and the root causes must be addressed in a holistic way,” Jin who stood in for the Head of Chinese mission in Nigeria said. He said the new changes in the international situation and the new demand for development on African continent has made it imperative to draw up new measures for China-Africa cooperation.