By Alex Enumah
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, in far away Rwanda, identified corruption and internal conflicts within the African region as the major challenges that should be tackled in a bid to actualize the 60-year dream of a regionally integrated Africa.
Speaking at Africa’s Presidential roundtable tagged “The next sixty years in Africa: Looking for Wins” held at Intare Conference Arena, in
the Rwandan city of Kagali, President Buhari said knowledge economy, artificial intelligence and delivery of ideas as well as serene policy environment have been identified as answers to Africa’s quest for development.
The president was represented at the occasion by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Jusitce, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and made available to newsmen on Monday.
“To my mind, I think there are major issues that constitute hindrance to Africa’s integration despite having in place a policy email that will allow integration in Africa.
“I find the issue of corruption and prevailing conflict as serious setback militating against the development and integration of Africa,” the president said in the statement.
The president was further quoted as saying that, conflict and corruption within the region hinder policy environment and delivery of ideas.
The president therefore charged the African Union and stakeholders in the development of Africa to vigorously pursue the processes of surmounting the challenges posed by corruption and internal conflict for a regionally integrated Africa and the next 60 years Africa envisaged.
He said: “If we are talking of having a road network project infrastructure for example passing through Nigeria, Chad and perhaps down to Southern Sudan, a project which may take two to three years to complete may end up taking up to 15 years to complete arising from the conflicts making access and penetration to projects areas impossible.”
On the issue of corruption, President Buhari said: “If you are talking of infrastructure, a development project that might cost $1 billion to execute may end up consuming much more resources arising from multiplicity of chain of corruption with the result not having been
timely achieved and quality compromised.
“What are we doing to address these challenges? I think these are the major components that constitute impediment to the realisation of issues related to the delivery of ideas, knowledge economy couple with
“We must never underrate the negative effects of corruption and the prevailing conflict situation that are prevalent within Africa.”
Speaking on the same issues, the Chairman of African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said although there is no conflict between sovereign
African states, internal wrangling within the region characterized by political unrest, insecurity, insurgencies and militancy must be
addressed in order to “silence the gun” in the region.
Mahamat decried that over $50 billion were embezzled in Africa due to corrupt practices, the amount which, he said, was much bigger than combined international aids that the African continent received across the globe.
He therefore, charged Africans to have vision, commitment and conviction for the region to prosper to a greater level.
The Africa Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, Raila Amolo Odinga, said for “African Lion” to challenge the Asian Tigers, in addition to thinking of going to the moon should also think of going to the next galaxy.
According to Odinga, the region must improve its integration approaches, have unified currency, improved implementation of political and economic policies.