By Femi Ogunshola
Abuja – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday said a stronger tie between Africa and China would curtail the scourge of poverty in Africa.
Obasanjo made this known at a forum organised by the Embassy of China, titled: “A new era for China-Africa cooperation, partnership for peace, security and development” in Abuja.
He said that a new era of such stronger tie would be beneficial to Africa and the world at large, adding that Africa had a lot to gain from China.
He said that China and Africa must enter a strategic partnership in the areas of grants, long and short term loan such that it would help in providing skills acquisition, trade and infrastructure.
According to him, Africa is ready to move with China and Africa must be ready to embark on regular and periodic reform.
Obasanjo said that African problem could only be solved if its value was sustained, adding that poverty alleviation in Nigeria with active collaboration with China was also imperative.
He said that the effect of poverty was telling on Africa and it must seek for a lasting solution, adding that China was a good example of how a country should fight poverty.
“Within a space of one generation, China has lifted about 500 million people out of poverty and the method has been hugely successful,’’ Obasanjo said.
The former president called on China to teach other Africa countries willing to learn how to fight poverty, adding that China had consistently created 13 million jobs in urban areas.
He said that from 2012 to 2017, China had lifted about 68 million out of poverty because the government served the expectation of the people.
He stressed that poverty reduction should be the main focus of Africa’s relationship with China, adding that delivery on governance was what all Africa leaders should bring to bear.
Obasanjo said that generations of leaders in China had not deviated from the vision of its founding fathers, stressing that Africa needed China and Asia at large for its economic development.
According to him, China can import the knowledge in the areas of housing, agriculture, rural road development, and Nigeria corps members can be deployed to learn in such areas.
The former president said that China had improved in terms of peace and security, adding that where such peace, security and stability were lacking, there could never be progress.
He, however, called on African leaders to lead the way in leadership, stressing that once the desired to do the right things were seen by the citizenry, they would fall in line.