Africa’s development aspirations can be realized by deepening cooperation and collaboration with the rest of the world, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN). But the imperative for Africa’s economic sovereignty also exists because there are areas where public and private sector leaders must continue to strive for it.
Osinbajo said so yesterday during the opening panel of the ongoing Africa CEO Forum being held in the Ivorian city of Abidjan. The theme of the panel was: “Economic sovereignty: from ambition to action”.
In a press release published by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, the vice-president who arrived yesterday evening in Côte d’Ivoire was welcomed at Félix Houphouët-Boigny international airport by the Ivorian Prime Minister, Mr. Patrick Achi.
Other speakers on the opening panel were President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; the Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation, Mr. Makhtar Diop; the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Dr. Patrick Njoroge; CEO of Telcar Cocoa, Kate Kanyi Tometi-Fotso and CEO of Instadeep, Karim Beguir.
Highlighting the need for collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world, Professor Osinbajo said: “I think we have to be a little more careful with the concept of economic sovereignty because we really need to collaborate more and with the way development is going, we have to look at some of these things.
“For example, if we look at the way technology is changing, which is critical for us in Nigeria, especially the taxation issues of tech companies and all that, obviously it’s difficult and it’s an expression major of sovereign power – the power to tax.
Continuing, the Vice President said: “The way the world and technology is structured today, there is no way you can use the same basis – personal and territorial basis for taxation. These are multinational companies that span across countries and continents.
Osinbajo noted that “we need to cooperate with the world and the international tax system to ensure that we are able to derive maximum benefit from it. We need to sit at the table and ensure that all the various international tax initiatives favor us in Africa.
According to him, “as we look inwards, we have to be very careful to look outwards as well because a lot of money is obviously used by technology companies around the world and many of our countries are creators of value for these companies.
“We have a great need to look within and at the same time keep our eyes on the ball because we have to recognize that the world has moved beyond brick and mortar.
The world is now more focused on intellectual capital. We need to think about how we can work with the world to make the most of our intellectual capacity.
In another conversation with the forum organizers, BUA Group CEO Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu spoke about the concept of economic sovereignty, urging Africa to look inward as a way to accelerate development on the continent. .
He cited harnessing the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and improving infrastructure as some of the key areas for leaders on the continent to focus on.
Earlier during the opening ceremony of the forum, President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire hailed the initiative of the organizers to bring together leaders from the public and private sectors across the continent and beyond to discuss and develop new pathways to drive the transformation of economies across Africa.
He noted that while the COVID-19 pandemic may have had a negative impact on growth projections on the continent, the forum’s vision and similar efforts are geared towards “building new partnerships between the public and private sectors.” , in particular offering opportunities to young Africans with particular attention. on the green economy.
For his part, the President and Founder of the Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed, commended leaders across the continent for their efforts despite the disruptions to the global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian conflict. -Ukrainian.
He noted that economic sovereignty, green economy and industrial transformation, among others, are new pathways to Africa’s prosperity, adding that the intended impact of the AfCFTA on economies across the continent was based on on a viable and productive economy.
The president of the cice is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with the managing director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr. Makhtar Diop, and the special advocate of the SG of the United Nations on inclusive finance for development, his majesty, the Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.