Mbeki, Tukur hold talks on African integration project

By Lawrence Olaoye

Former South African President, Mr Thambo Mbeki has canvassed for an economic integration for Africa capable of raising the living standard of every African, while the continent emerges as a strong economic power.

Mbeki made this known in Abuja during a consultative meeting he held with the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur at his Wuse 2 residence at the weekend.

Mbeki who was in Nigeria for the on-going AU-ECA Summit of African Ministers of Finance said with the attention Africa has lately been commanding among the developed countries, it was time the continent began to re-energise itself economically.

He said his consultation with Tukur on the need to develop a model of economic intergration for Africa was necessary because of his capacity as the President African Business Round Table (ABR) and NEPAD Group.

Mbeki, a founding member of the NEPAD Heads of Government and Implementation Group, said Nigeria has a critical role to play in the proposed Africa’s Economic Integration, urging Tukur to start playing a leading role in making Nigeria embrace the concept.

He said the vision on Africa’s Economic Integration was unassailable given the tendency to address the problem of mass unemployment, poverty and ignorance in the continent through effective implementation of programmes on job creation, education and others.

Mbeki said Africa’s Economic Integration would ensure the strengthening of the Private Sector to spearhead the promotion of trade and free market, all capable of making Africa a major player in international trade.

Tukur had earlier hosted not less than 18 of the African Ministers of Finance to a dinner in his residence last Saturday, urging the Ministers to ensure that their respective governments buy into the proposal for Africa’s Integration.

The meeting between the former South-African President and Tukur lasted for an hour as they both explored areas where African Countries can embrace the idea of regional integration with same currency, common transportation system through rail lines and common market.

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