President Goodluck Jonathan, speaking on Thursday at the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on Africa holding in Abuja, expressed optimism that the abduction of over 234 school girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, would be the end of insurgency in the country.
Jonathan, who said that Nigeria was proud to host the event for the first time it was coming to West Africa, thanked participants for coming at a time the country was facing terror attacks.
The president thanked China, the U.S., United Kingdom and France who volunteered to assist in the rescue efforts of the girls and in fighting the terrorists
“Let me specially thank all of you for accepting to come. Especially this time that as a nation we are facing attacks from terrorists” Jonathan said.
“Let me appreciate you individually and collectively for your support and your sentiment.
“In fact by your presence here in Nigeria at this time, you have already supported us to win the war.
“If you have refused to come because of fear, the terrorists would have jubilated and even have committed more havoc.
“Your coming here to support us morally is a major blow on the terrorists and by God’s grace we will conquer the terrorists.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the other countries who have volunteered to help us in terms of rescuing the abducted girls. The government of China has promised to assist us and I believe that assistance will come almost immediately.
“U.S., UK and France have also spoken to me and expressed their commitment to assist us.
“I believe that the kidnapping of these girls will be the beginnig of end to terror in Nigeria” he said.
Jonathan said that the theme of the Forum, ‘Creating Jobs and inclusive Growth’, was critical to Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
According to him, job creation was a global challenge and nearly all countries of the world, of class and position, faced the problem of unemployment, pointing out that unemployment problem in Africa was compounded by its youthful population.
The president, therefore, tasked African leaders to place utmost priority on employment creation to forestall damning prediction of additional 122 million unemployed workforce by 2020.
He said that wealth creation had been the main focus of his administration’s transformation agenda through mobilisation and diversification of the economy, adding that government recognised that the private sector must be the agent of growth and job creation and it was, therefore, putting in place programmes to support the sector.
Jonathan stated that the Nigerian economy had grown rapidly at about seven per cent in the last 10 years and the country was now the largest economy in Africa and 26th in the world.
He, however, said the robust economy was yet to translate into jobs creation and government was working hard to create job for people.
Jonathan noted that government was focussing on specific sectors which has high job creation potentials like agriculture, manufacturing, housing, construction and the servicing sectors.
The president disclosed that government was also giving priority to small and medium scale enterprises to create sustainable jobs.
Responding, Li Kequang, Chinese Premier, said that Africa was a continent on the rise with 54 united countries, over two trillion dollars economic aggregate in 2013 and having seven out of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world.
The Chinese Premier promised that China would continue to support the much needed infrastructural development in African countries without interference in their internal democracies and governance.
Kequang pointed out that the economy of China and Africa was complimentary because while Africa had practical need for infrastructural and rural development China had surplus in investments, construction and production.
According to him, China would increase its investment financing in Africa from 10 billion dollars, create a 30 billon-dollar credit facilities and provide an additional two billion dollars to China- Africa Development fund to bring it to five billion dollars.
Kequang also said that China would grant 18,000 scholarships in support of African Talent Plan and train 30,000 African professionals.
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