WE NEED LONG-TERM INVESTMENT IN AFRICA, NOT AIDS, BANKOLE TELLS RUSIAN OFFICIALS
Developed nations have been told that what the countries of Africa need to harness her potentials is not aid but long term investment based on economic partnership.
Declaring open a two-day international parliamentary conference with the theme 'Russia-Africa :Horizon of Cooperation' in Moscow, Russia, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole stated that aids channelled to Africa had not helped.
Special Adviser to the Speaker on Communications, Mr Kayode Odunaro in a statement yesterday said Bankole was emphatic that 'What African nations need from developed nations today is not aid but improve trading and economic partnership and long-term investment.'
According to him, Nigeria and indeed African nations never believed that aid would solve its development problems on the long run. Judging from available statistics from the World Bank and other development agencies, Bankole stated that aids to Africa have continued to increase in quantum in the last 25 years. Instead of African development challenges being mitigated they seemed to have worsened in critical sectors, with ugly human development indices.
'We never believe that aids would our socio-economic problems. What we need most now is cooperation, partnerships, trade and long-term investment in key areas that can generate wealth and create employment,' he stated
Bankole explained to the leadership of over 40 African Parliaments, Russian Parliamentarians and other Russian government officials that what Nigeria needs from the developed world are investment under a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) model with guaranteed return on investment within a period, and appropriate legislations to safeguard investment.
With a renew interest by Russians cooperation with African nations as demonstrated by the international parliamentary meet, he urged Russia not to follow the path of other developed nations showing assistance to African nations which end up taking away African wealth but leaving Africa poorer.
He explained to the conference that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan has embarked on various economic and political reforms, geared towards good governance, anti corruption and promotion of the welfare of the people.
Bankole stressed that genuine investors and development partners need not fear for the safety of their investment as legislation are would be put in place to protect their interests.
In an address of welcome to the conference, Russia, president Mr. Dmitry Medvedev represented by the Speaker of the National Parliament of Russian Mr. Boris Gryzlov said after 50 years of independence in Africa, Russia, the successor state to USSR desired increased trade and economic relations with African nations adding that Africa is an important segment to Russia foreign relations.