Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said stronger leadership was critical for the economic development of the African continent.
Obasanjo said this on Friday at the ongoing 2018 Afreximbank Annual Meetings in Abuja.
He said Africa had the human, mineral and capital resources as well as strong institutions to become a “heaven on earth,” yet it wasn’t living up to its potential due to weak leadership.
He said: “We are not where we should be, but we have moved away from where we were.
“It is obvious from what we have started to see with the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
“The signing of the AfCFTA is historic and it shows that at last Africans are beginning to work together.
“The talk of establishing the AfCFTA has been there since the African Union was established. Imagine how long it took for it to become a reality.
“I remember what happened in Kigali, a day before the signing, we were not sure if 20 countries will sign, so it was a surprise when 44 countries signed that day.”
Obasanjo urged African leaders to collaborate more and emulate countries that were doing well and also learn not to make the same mistakes that had already been made by others.
He pointed out that the African population was rising at an astronomical rate, therefore it was imperative to ensure that the right policies were in place to improve the economy and create jobs.
He cited the telecommunications sector in Nigeria as a success story of how Africans were the architect of their own future.
The former President used the opportunity to encourage more women to go into politics.
He urged women to vie for gubernatorial and senatorial seats in the coming elections in Nigeria.