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Economic sovereignty important but Africa needs to collaborate more internationally – Osinbajo

Africa’s developmental aspirations can be actualised by deepening cooperation and collaboration with the rest of the world, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. But…

Africa’s developmental aspirations can be actualised by deepening cooperation and collaboration with the rest of the world, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

But the imperative of Africa’s economic sovereignty also exists as there are areas where public and private sector leaders must continue to strive for it.

Osinbajo stated this while speaking at the opening panel of the ongoing Africa CEO Forum holding in the Ivorian city of Abidjan.

The panel was themed- “Economic Sovereignty: From Ambition to Action.”

The Vice President who had arrived in Ivory Coast last night was welcomed at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport by the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Patrick Achi.

Other speakers at 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 Kenyan Central Bank, Dr Patrick Njoroge; the CEO of Telcar Cocoa, Kate Kanyi Tometi-Fotso and CEO of Instadeep, Karim Beguir.

Emphasizing the need for collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world, Osinbajo said, “I think that we have to be a bit more careful with the concept of economic sovereignty because we really need to collaborate more and with the way that development is going, we need to watch some of these things.

“For instance, if we look at the way that technology is going which is key for us in Nigeria, particularly issues of taxation of tech companies and all of that, it is evident that this is difficult and it is a major expression of sovereign power – the power to tax.”

Continuing, the Vice President said, “the way that the world and technology are structured today, there is no way that you can use the same basis – personal and territorial basis for taxation. These are multinational enterprises that spread across countries and continents.”

In another chat with organisers of the forum, the CEO of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, spoke about the concept of economic sovereignty, urging Africa to look inwards as a way of fast-tracking development on the continent.

He cited leveraging opportunities provided by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and improving infrastructure as some of the key areas that leaders in the continent must focus on.

Earlier at the opening ceremony of the forum, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire commended the initiative of the organisers to bring together public and private sector leaders across the continent and beyond to discuss and develop new paths aimed at boosting the transformation of economies across Africa.

He noted that though the COVID-19 pandemic may have negatively impacted growth projections in the continent, the vision of the forum and similar efforts are geared towards “building new partnerships between the public and private sector, especially providing opportunities for young Africans with particular focus on green economy.”

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