FG urges closer ECOWAS, EU ties on WAMZ

The Minister who stated this last weekend in Berlin at a forum tagged ‘Dialogue on German Development Co-operation with Africa’  also called for Germany’s support as Nigeria seeks favourable terms on the proposed  Economic Partnership Agreement  to ensure that local manufacturing is not adversely affected.
A statement issued by Ikechukwu Eze, Special Assistant to the Minister on Media quoted Yuguda as saying:  “EPA is a very tough area for us in Africa. Some of us in Africa may be keen to easily key into that but for us in Nigeria we have issues we feel we need to sit down with the European Union to resolve in order to ensure that our local industries won’t be left holding the short end of the stick.”
On the future of Africa’s co-operation with Germany, Yuguda noted that emphasis should be placed on improving regional integration and offering strategic growth support to Africa’s emerging economies.
He said: “Germany and Europe have done very well in the area of regional integration. In West Africa we are in the process of establishing West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).  We (ECOWAS) have been discussing with AU and other African regional blocs. We are working towards having a convergence and we believe we can learn from Germany and the European example.”
Speaking on the theme, ‘Africa-Continent of Opportunities: A Partnership for Change’, Yuguda  further urged Germany and other European nations to place investment and strategic business  partnership with Africa over aid, stating that only such beneficial collaboration will lead to more sustainable development of the African continent.
He said further: “There is no doubt that Africa is gradually emerging from its unenviable image of a donor dependent continent to one that is seizing the momentum and rewriting its story. Seven African countries account for the top 20 fastest growing economies globally. This presents new opportunities on the continent with Nigeria leading as the 26th largest economy in the world.
“Against the backdrop of shrinking aid and doubts on its effectiveness, what Africa requires essentially is not money and other forms of aid alone, but rather giving opportunities and support to emerging strategic growth initiatives to ensure sustainable development of a continent on the rise.”
In the case of Nigeria, the Minister pointed out that although aid forms only an insignificant measure in our budgeting process, constituting less than two per cent of our GDP, GIZ, and Germany’s foreign development arm has been supporting Nigeria since 1974 when development cooperation agreement was signed.
He noted that there is a shared economic fortune between the two countries with Germany being the leading economy in Europe, while Nigeria leads in Africa with a GDP in excess of $500bn; the highest in Africa. Nigeria also enjoys positive approval rating from international agencies with Fitch rating of BB- with ‘stable’ outlook.
Yuguda pointed out that Nigeria needed “more foreign investment to ensure the success of the reform programmes of the Government’s Transformation Agenda such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), National Automotive Policy, and National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), special funding arrangement for manufacturers as well as massive road construction and rehabilitation.”
He said further: “There is no doubt that Africa is gradually emerging from its unenviable image of a donor dependent continent to one that is seizing the momentum and rewriting its story. Seven African countries account for the top 20 fastest growing economies globally. This presents new opportunities on the continent with Nigeria leading as the 26th largest economy in the world.