The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has attended the Trade and Investment Summit organised by the Commonwealth in London, the United Kingdom.
In a statement via his official X handle on Tuesday, Obi said the summit allowed him to speak on how Africa is greatly endowed as the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent and a continent of incredible richness.
The former Governor of Anambra State said Nigeria could earn more from agriculture than from oil if the government invested in the vast uncultivated lands in the North.
Obi stated that even with the immense potential and opportunities in Africa, many challenges remain related to the widespread leadership failures on the continent.
With its long years of experience in political leadership in Africa, the LP flagbearer urged the Commonwealth to partner with and support Africa to instil accountable and responsible political leadership.
He wrote: “Yesterday, I had the honour of speaking at the Commonwealth-organized Trade and Investment Summit in L!ondon, themed, “Harnessing the African Opportunity”, a topic of immense importance and promise.
“The event provided me with the ample opportunity to elucidate how Africa is greatly endowed, being the second largest and second-most-populous continent of the world and a continent of incredible richness, not just in terms of its natural resources but also its human capital, with a population of over 1.4 billion people.
“A youthful and dynamic workforce with the largest concentration of working age population of about 1.1 billion people, with an abundance of natural resources ranging from minerals to over 874 million hectares of arable land for agricultural revolution, positions Africa as a key player in the global economy.
“While every socio-economic sector in Africa presents immense potential and opportunities, I used just four sectors – Technology, Entertainment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture to further illustrate the emerging opportunities of this great continent, I mentioned that Africa is not just catching up, but innovating its areas.
“From fintech (financial technology) solutions that address financial inclusion to mobile technologies that leapfrog traditional infrastructure. Africa is proving to be a hub of innovation. It is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses, including more access to education and healthcare.
“Africa is home to a litany of natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals, and timber. For instance, 40% of the gold and 90% of chromium and platinum deposits in the world are in Africa. The largest deposits of the world’s cobalt, diamond, platinum, and uranium are also in Africa.
The richest country in the world in terms of mineral and natural resources is The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with an estimated value of over $24 trillion, including the largest deposits of coltan and cobalt. The DRC picture can be extrapolated for many other African countries.
“Recent studies show that Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable lands and that Africa’s food and agriculture market could increase from its present amount of less than US$300 billion a year to over US$1 trillion a year by 2030.
“The same studies show that with agriculture at the core of Africa’s economic transformation, the continent has the potential to become a global agricultural powerhouse and a net exporter of food. However, this can only be achieved if the right combination of policies is implemented.
“I have always maintained that Nigeria can earn more from agriculture than from oil if we invest in the vast uncultivated lands in the North. However, even with the immense potential and opportunities in Africa, many challenges remain related to the widespread leadership failures on the continent.
“Africa is home to many people living in extreme poverty and multi-dimensional poverty. Despite these challenges, there is a growing belief that Africa can be on the cusp of a major transformation with the opportunities that abound if the right reforms are pursued.
“I urged the Commonwealth, with its long years of experience in political leadership in Africa, to partner with and support Africa to instil Accountable and responsible political leadership, which has remained the most critical requirement for the harnessing of the immense opportunities in Africa for the benefit of Africa, the Commonwealth, and the global economy. I remain hopeful for a New Africa and a New Nigeria.”