Feature: Tinubu should engage other West African leaders to increase Regional share of Global Trade


I hope Tinubu has plans to meet with all of West Africa’s leaders within the next month and draw up plans to increase the sub-region’s share of global trade


Ayo Akinfe

[1] I do not need to tell anyone that West Africa remains a dependent and parasitic backwater, that supplies the rest of the world with the world with nothing by raw materials. You can never build any form of prosperity with that kind of rigged arrangement that keeps you a dependant consumer

[2] As we speak, Africa still only amounts for about 4% of global trade. There is simply not enough technology transfer and capital investment is minimal. Everything I have seen so far indicates that the rest of the world is reluctant to take a leap of faith in Africa

[3] Some people will talk about enabling conditions, bla, bla, bla but the fact remains that when a coloniser wants to invest in a conquered land, they do so with no inhibitions. In Cuba, the US poured billions into it pre-1959, seeking to make it another Las Vegas and when the Japanese invaded Manchuria they invested like $44m between 1937 and 1945

[4] Even during the Slave Trade era, Europe never invested in Africa. How come all their plantations were in the New World and not Africa? It would have cost them less to open cotton and sugar plantations across West Africa. Was that due to poor African leadership too?

[5] For me, this reluctance to invest in Africa is more of a psychological than economic matter. Those companies who have invested have by and large got good returns on their investment but this has still not led to a gold rush

[6] Those of you who work in the corporate world know that most multinationals have a Europe, Middle East and Africa structure. This means that whenever they want to open a plant, they have to decide whether it is in Europe, the Middle East or Africa. This is an area where as a continent we have lost out big time

[7] One problem Africa will always have is getting investors to decide on where to locate facilities. When you have 54 countries, it is simply impossible to have plants located in all of them. For me, there are simply too many nations in Africa and the structure is not sustainable. I expect Bola Tinubu to come up with an investment strategy to assess this

[8] Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa cannot keep attracting all of the continent’s investment. What will become of countries like Niger Republic, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Sudan, Mali, Burundi, Togo, etc. Realistically, the only way forward for these small countries is for the big ones to absorb them. Niger Republic for instance is 80% Sahara Desert. It should be the world’s largest solar farm, powering the whole African continent. Now, that can only happen if Nigeria gobbles up Niger Republic

[9] At the moment, Africans are not even making regional pitches for capital. I think that is something we need to move to immediately. I want to see West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa each make united bids to the likes of Nissan, General Motors, Volkswagen, Bush, Samsung, Bosch, etc to locate factories in their sub-region. Tinubu should get the ball rolling ASAP

[10] If Africa had say just six nations, I believe she would attract a lot more investment as she would be in a better position to make competitive bids. Tinubu should make creating a single West African economy his ultimate foreign policy objective


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