Africa is not yet fully independent because the continent is still languishing in poverty, corruption and bad governance, Nigeria High Commissioner to Rwanda Peter Ayibakuro Ogide-Oke has said.
Ogide-Oke made the remarks during an exclusive interview with The New Times, last week, where he said African governments need to put in much effort to pull people out of poverty and hunger traps.
“The Africa independence is not yet realised as long as our people are still languishing in extreme poverty and hunger. We need to get to the next level by fighting hunger and poverty on the continent,” he said.
“We shouldn’t rely on foreigners for food. Our governments should ensure food security. Good governance and eradicating poverty is paramount in making Africa independent.”
Ogide-Oke commended Rwanda for taking great steps in reducing poverty through Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).
When the poverty eradication programme (EDPRS 2008-2012) came to an end, the country’s poverty reduced by 13 per cent with one million Rwandans lifted out of poverty.
The government early this month formally unveiled EDPRS2.
At the cost of about Rwf10 trillion over the next five years, the poverty reduction initiative planned for implementation between 2013 and 2018 is expected to deliver the country to a middle income status.
The economy is set to grow at an average 11.5 per cent during EDPRS2 implementation and GDP per capita is projected to increase from the current $644 to $1,240 by the year 2020.
“Rwanda has done quite well because for the past five years, the country has lifted one million people out of abject poverty. African leaders should emulate Rwanda,” Ogide-Oke said.
However, he pointed out that if Africans come together through integration and doing business jointly, the continent would be in position to gradually reduce poverty.
Majority of African countries gained independence during the same period and Nigeria on Tuesday will mark 53 years of self rule.
Ogide-Oke said: “It’s not too clear if we are actually independent, but to a larger extent, we are. However, we still rely so much on people, countries, and agencies outside Africa so we can’t claim to be 100 per cent independent.”
He said the world has become a global village where some powerful nations have something to gain from small and weak nations.
Rwanda gained independence from Belgium in 1962, but because of bad governance during the country’s post-independence, things would get to the bottom of the pit with the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that was perpetuated by leaders of the time.
As Nigeria marks its independence tomorrow, find in our edition a full interview with the High Commissioner.