Yar'Adua Calls for Another Berlin Conference
By Ben Agande
5 November 2007
5 November 2007
For President Umaru Yar'Adua, a Marshal Plan along the lines of the one employed by the United States of America to rebuild the nations of Europe during the devastation caused by the Second World War, is the only way to regenerate Africa and to place it on the path of recovery. President Yar'Adua spoke yesterday in Eltville, Germany where he is attending a summit of African and European leaders.
The president who spoke on 'Challenges of Globalisation for Africa at the Partnership With Africa Forum, said Africa needed such a bold plan for its regeneration after "decades of destruction engendered by forced partitioning and many years of self-inflicted ruin". He noted that though greater international support was needed for Africa's efforts to catch up with the developed nations of the world, 'Africa's development must be championed by Africans themselves'.
The president called for a rethinking on the concept of aids to African countries by developed and wealthy nations because as it is presently operated, it has become obvious that most times it is 'usually too little, most times mis-directed and generally does not make much of a difference". He continued: "This Forum is a veritably and apt platform for laying the foundation of another Berlin Conference, this time to work out the details of the plan to rebuild Africa's infrastructure and, most importantly, to operationalize an initiative that should allow the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa export everything but arms (EBA) to the OECD nations completely free of duties! "I must stress the fact that, ultimately, Africa's development must be championed by Africans themselves; no one from outside the continent is coming to face up to our developmental challenges on our behalf. We must commit to strengthening governance institutions and structures," he said.
The President regretted that 'Endemic corruption, which has seen the distortion of our core values and the diversion of scarce resources from their development targets to private hands, must be tackled head-on' adding that Africa 'must evolve a crop of focused, committed, service-oriented, and God fearing leaders to drive the continent's rebirth'. President Yar'Adua assured that his Administration was anchoring its pursuit of a re-energized, stable and prosperous Nigeria on the entrenchment of the fundamental principles of democracy, good governance, free enterprise and the rule of law.