President Bola Tinubu has called for robust cooperation among United Nations members to put an end to the plundering of Africa’s resources, which amounts to billions of dollars. Foreign companies are responsible for arming local criminals to carry out illegal mining of these resources.
Tinubu made this declaration during his address at the 78th UN Assembly in New York on Tuesday, September 19, 2023. He emphasized the importance of the United Nations intensifying its cooperation with Africa to secure the continent from insecurity that jeopardizes peace and national security.
In the President’s statement, as conveyed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, he expressed concern about the alarming level of insecurity and societal unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), despite the strong UN presence there.
“The fourth crucial aspect of global trust and solidarity is to protect the mineral-rich areas of the continent from theft and conflict. Many of these areas have become centers of suffering and exploitation,” Tinubu stated. “The Democratic Republic of the Congo has endured this for decades, despite the significant UN presence. The global economy owes much to the DRC but provides very little in return.
“Foreign entities, aided by local criminals aspiring to be petty warlords, have conscripted thousands of our people into servitude for illegal gold mining and other resource extraction. Billions of dollars, intended to improve the nation, now fuel numerous violent enterprises. If left unchecked, they will threaten peace and national security gravely. Given the scale of this injustice and the high stakes involved, many Africans are wondering whether this phenomenon is accidental or deliberate.
“Member nations must respond by collaborating with us to discourage their companies and citizens from this 21st-century pillaging of the continent’s wealth. To uphold the principles of this global organization and the theme of this year’s Assembly, the impoverishment of nations must come to an end. The exploitation of one nation’s resources by the overreach of more powerful nations’ companies and individuals must cease,” the President declared.
In the spotlight, Nigeria’s President affirmed the country’s readiness to engage in business, citing his “aggressive economic development diplomatic push for new investment.” He also emphasized that the “ease of doing business” might not be the major encumbrances to large-scale investment.
“The question isn’t whether Nigeria is open for business. The question is how much of the world is genuinely open to conducting business with Nigeria and Africa in a fair, mutually beneficial manner. Direct investment in critical industries, opening ports to a wider range and larger quantity of quality African exports, and meaningful debt relief are essential aspects of the cooperation we seek,” the President affirmed.
The President also noted that the global fight against the effects of climate change cannot follow a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Nations must cooperate in designing and implementing their own strategies tailored to their respective socio-economic strengths and weaknesses.
He continued: “African nations are committed to combating climate change, but we must do so on our own terms. To achieve the necessary public consensus, this campaign must align with our overall economic efforts. In Nigeria, we will build political consensus by highlighting remedial actions that also promote broader economic welfare.
“Projects like ‘The Great Green Wall’ to combat desert encroachment, stopping the destruction of our forests through mass production and distribution of gas-burning stoves, and creating employment through local water management and irrigation projects are examples of efforts that advance both economic and climate change objectives simultaneously.
“Continental efforts on climate change will achieve significant victories only if established economies are more forthcoming with public and private sector investment in Africa’s preferred projects and initiatives,” the President cautioned.
While underscoring Africa’s importance, Tinubu stated that the black continent remains the key to the future of the world.