African diplomats urge continent to tackle internal challenges



YOUTH unemployment, illegal migration, insecurity and external debt are some of the challenges Africa should urgently and diligently tackle to attain true freedom, prosperity and growth, Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, has said.

Lolo spoke at the weekend in an address to members of Africa Diplomatic Group and guests at the Africa Day and Nelson Mandela International Day celebration, which also marked the 52nd anniversary of the African Union (AU). He urged Africa to tackle the enumerated challenges and build on Mandela’s achievements for the continent.

Also speaking at the event, the Ambassador of Saharawi Republic and Dean of Africa’s Ambassadors Group, Oubi Bachir, pledged the support of all African ambassadors to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, Ambassador Lulu

Bachir called for the unconditional release of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, over a year ago.

He added: “We support the resolve of the Federal Government of Nigeria to once and for all resolve this hideous problem. Africa is committed to garnering all necessary resources to support Nigeria in its quest to combat terrorism.”

Though six of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa, Lolo said it is not yet uhuru for Africa because 60 per cent of its youths are still unemployed and would rather embrace death on the Mediterranean in quest of better life than remain jobless at home.

“Peace and security remain a challenge in Africa – Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria, Al-Shabab in East Africa and the presence of ISIS elements in parts of North Africa,” he noted. “Africa must unite and collaborate in the fight against terror and insurgency.

“Our dream for sustainable African economic renaissance must go beyond the current platitude of being tagged the fastest growing economy and include a substantial capacity for self-reliance. We cannot truly be economically free if the potential for wealth creation and generation are left in the hands of foreigners.

“Our entrepreneurial class must reject the appeal for easy money and the alternative of being the market for finished products from other regions.”

Lolo further called on the continent to work on the unresolved independence of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, saying the challenge has blighted the continent’s political conscience. According to him, “Africa must demonstrate in very clear terms that its commitment to the right of self-determination of all people is not just perfunctory.”

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