Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says it is time for the global community to treat the menace of terrorism in the Sahel as a common challenge.
He stated this at a public lecture delivered Monday evening at the King’s College, London entitled ‘Africa can Prosper in an Increasingly Complex World’.
He said this was one area in which the great powers and emerging powers could put aside rivalries and work together with ECOWAS and the African Union on an initiative to stamp out terrorism in Africa, especially in the Sahel.
Speaking on the various initiatives by the global North to partner with African countries, Osinbajo defended loans from China.
He said: “Africa needs the loans and the infrastructure. And China offers them. In any case, the history of loans from Western institutions is not great. The memory of the destructive conditionalities of the Bretton Woods loans are still fresh, the debris is everywhere.
“And the preoccupation of Western governments and media with the so-called China debt trap might well be an overreaction.”
He said Africa could take full advantage of the current global complexities and thrive in the face of the uncertainties and disruption “through knowledgeable leadership which is committed to good governance.”
On the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Osinbajo said, “apart from its consequences for international peace and security, the war has signaled a breakdown of the global order which emerged at the end of the Second World War and is a source of concern to many African countries who now have to steer their way delicately between major powers.
But the more immediate and consequential fallout of the war are the sharp hikes in food, especially wheat, sunflower oil, fuel and fertilizer prices.
He said “many African countries are heavily dependent on one or both of the warring parties for food and oil. When the conflict began in February last year, the price of wheat increased by 67% from December 2021. Oil prices similarly went through the roof.
The international price of oil averaged $100 per barrel in 2022 as compared to about $70 per barrel in 2021. Given that some of the key manufacturing countries are oil importers, higher oil prices invariably translated to higher prices for manufactured products as well.”
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