Former Nigeria’s president, Olusegun Obasanjo and other stakeholders at a security forum on Monday stressed the need for Africa to carefully study global trends with a view to learning and positioning the region at an enviable height.
They spoke in Abeokuta at the Second Intellectual Fiesta on Africa’s Development.
The theme of the programme, which was organised by the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, OOP, was “Emerging Developments in Europe and North America: Lessons for Human Security in Africa.”
Mr Obasanjo, who was a special guest at the event, noted in his opening remarks that the world had become a global village with interdependence consequences.
While urging African countries to take keen interest in developments in Europe and North- America, the former president warned that the region must not copy or sheepishly follow the process in such socio-economic, political and cultural trends.
“ We have to study the trends to take the things that could be beneficial to us and discard things that are inimical to our development,” he said.
A communique issued at the end of the dialogue noted that recent developments in Europe and North- America, particularly in education, health, politics, economy and culture had ongoing and potential impact on Africa’s development.
It particularly noted in Europe and North-America the growing self-centrism, America-first, Brexit, growth of rightist movements, protectionism and dissolution of trade deals.
The communique said Africa must take a cue from Europe and North- America where huge investment was being committed to education considered as a potent pathway of improving human security.
“Such investment, among other benefits, will ultimately contribute to reducing terrorism and violent extremism in Africa,” it said.
It recommended that Africa should stop paying lip service to the concept of self reliance but should take practical steps to ensuring self reliance in food and nutrition by engaging and encouraging interested citizens in agribusiness.
The communique, which noted that Africa was not paying due attention to “the Trumpian phenomenon” called for an observatory committee to monitor its impact on the world order and develop a coping strategy.
It recommended that Africa should initiate and improve on policies which place emphasis on youth development and employment.
The communique also stressed the need for human security policy at the national and regional level while harmonising efforts of agencies involved in human security that currently operate in silos.
“Although we should feel concerned about issues relating to market economy and liberal democracy, Africa should define the form of governance that is contextually relevant to the African setting and not assume that what is working in Europe and North America will work for us.
“Africa should stop putting the responsibilities of its challenges on the colonialists.
“The international community does not owe Africa respect but Africa has to earn the respect through defining for itself the type of development that is contextually beneficial to individual countries and the continent,” it added.