Africa Will Be Left Behind If Nigeria, S’Africa Fail, Say Ambode, Makhura

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  •  Mull signing agreement on trade, manufacturing

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the Premier of Gauteng, Mr. David Makhura, wednesday said Africa would be left behind in the world of 21st century if Nigeria and South Africa failed to drive the much needed economic growth through industrial revolution.

On this ground, the duo disclosed the plan to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which they said would enable Gauteng, a South African province partner Lagos State in trade, manufacturing and capacity-building to unleash economic growth on the continent.

The two leaders addressed journalists wednesday at the State House, Alausa after a closed-door meeting specifically between officials of the Lagos State Government and the Province of Gauteng, a economic powerhouse of South Africa.

The meeting was attended by South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Loui Mguni, Honorary Consul of Namibia to Nigeria, Mr. Justin Chuma Anosike, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem and Special Adviser on Oversee Affairs and Investment, Prof. Ademola Abbas.

After the meeting, yesterday, Makhura noted that Africa would be left behind if Nigeria and South Africa fail to step forward and drive industrial revolution, thereby saying the responsibility was for Lagos State and the Province of Gauteng to lead from the front.
He said Lagos “has got some industrial capacity that we can bring our business people to check up that capacity. There is lot of innovation happening in the ICT, the creative industry here in Nigeria.”

Specifically, Makhura noted that Lagos “has got youths, professional services and financial business capacities. Its economies are more or less compatible. So, what the State of Lagos has in terms of sectors of the economy, we think if there is better synergy, better coordination, we can look at how the two governments can support more inclusive growth.”

He expressed optimism that the partnership would enhance the industrial capacity of Nigeria and South Africa, noting that it was high time for both Lagos and Gauteng Province “to rise to the challenge and utilise their strengths for the benefit of Africa.

“One of the important areas that we will focus is mainly manufacturing. Africa has to manufacture goods for Africans. We have rich natural resources in our continent, both in South Africa and Nigeria, Lagos and Gauteng will like to build on our experiences and how we can enhance industrial capacity including building advanced manufacturing capabilities of our continent.”

Also at the briefing, Ambode said that Lagos State and the Province of Gauteng in South Africa possessed the capacity “to drive the desired industrial and economic growth in Africa.

He described both Lagos and Gauteng as the economic powerhouse of Nigeria and South Africa, thereby indicating interest enter into a bi-lateral relationship with the Province of Gauteng.

He explained that the partnership would be designed “to boost economic capacities of not just Nigeria and South Africa, but also in Africa. It will also be a win-win situation that would grow the Gross Domestic Product that would be beneficial to the citizen of both countries.

“The essence of this relationship is that between Lagos and Gauteng, we actually have the powerhouse of commerce and the economy of the two countries. So, you can imagine a relationship that strives to bring that economic comparative advantage bloc forces into a synergy.
“So, that is where our focus is. The powerhouse in South Africa and the powerhouse in Nigeria are coming together to now do something instructive and also constructive to the benefit of their own people. That is the framework with which that MoU will be driven,” he said.

Ambode, thus, said the partnership would not only boost the GDP as we start to operate together, but equally increase the benefit that would be derived by all the people within the two cities.

He said the partnership “is all about commerce. It is all about economy and things that relate to good governance. We are going to exchange human capacity and things that make us to learn from each other and improve on the things that are challenging and common to both of us.”