Tinubu highlighted governance failures, unfulfilled promises, unequal treatment, and foreign exploitation as pressing concerns for Africa, calling for a transformative intervention similar to the Marshall Plan that resurrected Europe after World War II.
Addressing the international community at the UN headquarters in New York, President Tinubu emphasized that despite numerous resolutions and declarations over the years, Africa continues to grapple with deep-seated problems.
In 1948, the United States launched the Marshall Plan, formally known as the European Recovery Program, which involved allocating $13.3 billion in foreign assistance to Western Europe. This financial support was aimed at facilitating the reconstruction of areas devastated by war, eliminating trade obstacles, modernising industries, fostering European economic growth, and curbing the expansion of communism.
Among the sixteen participating countries, a significant portion of the total aid was distributed to just three nations. Notably, Britain received approximately 26%, France received 18%, and West Germany received 11% of the assistance.
Calling for similar treatment for Africa in the form of international cooperation between Africa and developed nations, President Tinubu urged the world to rally behind the region, saying “In the aftermath of the Second World War, nations gathered in an attempt to rebuild their war-torn societies. A new global system was born and this great body, the United Nations, was established as a symbol and protector of the aspirations and finest ideals of humankind.
“Nations saw that it was in their own interests to help others exit the rubble and wasteland of war. Reliable and significant assistance allowed countries emaciated by war to grow into strong and productive societies.
“The period was a highwater mark for trust in global institutions and the belief that humanity had learned the necessary lessons to move forward in global solidarity and harmony.
“Today and for several decades, Africa has been asking for the same level of political commitment and devotion of resources that described the Marshall Plan.
“We are not asking for identical programs and actions. What we seek is an equally firm commitment to partnership. We seek enhanced international cooperation with African nations to achieve the 2030 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.”
Tinubu noted that prioritizing African development is not just in Africa’s best interest but also critical for the global community.
Speaking further President Tinubu assured the world that Nigeria is open to mutually beneficial partnerships and investment, citing his administration’s removal of the petroleum subsidy, which he described as necessary for promoting economic growth and investor confidence in the country.
“I removed the costly and corrupt fuel subsidy while also discarding a noxious exchange rate system in my first days in office. Other growth and job-oriented reforms are in the wings.
“I am mindful of the transient hardship that reform can cause. However, it is necessary to go through this phase in order to establish a foundation for durable growth and investment to build the economy our people deserve.
“The question is not whether Nigeria is open for business. The question is how much of the world is truly open to doing business with Nigeria and Africa in an equal, mutually beneficial manner.
“Direct investment in critical industries, opening their ports to a wider range and larger quantity of African exports and meaningful debt relief are important aspects of the cooperation we seek,” he stated.
Touching on democratic governance in Africa, Tinubu firmly rejected military coups and political arrangements that perpetuate injustice, emphasizing the need for solutions to the menace.
“Second, we must affirm democratic governance as the best guarantor of the sovereign will and well-being of the people. Military coups 9 are wrong, as is any tilted civilian political arrangement that perpetuates injustice.
“The wave crossing parts of Africa does not demonstrate favour towards coups. It is a demand for solutions to perennial problems.”
Tinubu specifically spoke on the coup in Niger Republic: “We are negotiating with the military leaders. As Chairman of ECOWAS, I seek to help re-establish democratic governance in a manner that addresses the political and economic challenges confronting that nation, including the violent extremists who seek to foment instability in our region.
“I extend a hand of friendship to all who genuinely support this mission.
“This brings me to my third crucial point. Our entire region is locked in protracted battle against violent extremists. In the turmoil, a dark channel of inhumane commerce has formed. Along the route, everything is for sale. Men, woman and children are seen as chattel.
“Yet, thousands risk the Sahara’s hot sand and the Mediterranean’s cold depths in search of a better life. At the same time, mercenaries and extremists with their lethal weapons and vile ideologies invade our region from the north.
“This harmful traffic undermines the peace and stability of an entire region. African nations will improve our economies so that our people do not risk their lives to sweep the floors and streets of other nations. We also shall devote ourselves to disbanding extremist groups on our turf.
“Yet, to fully corral this threat, the international community must strengthen its commitment to arrest the flow of arms and violent people into West Africa.
“The fourth important aspect of global trust and solidarity is to secure the continent’s mineral rich areas from pilfering and conflict. Many such areas have become catacombs of misery and exploitation. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered this for decades, despite the strong UN presence there. The world economy owes the DRC much but gives her very little.
“The mayhem visited on resource rich areas does not respect national boundaries. Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso, CAR, the list grows.
“The problems also knocks Nigeria’s door. Foreign entities abetted by local criminals who aspire to be petty warlords have drafted thousands of people into servitude to illegally mine gold and other resources.
“Billions of dollars meant to improve the nation now fuel violent enterprises. If left unchecked, they will threaten peace and place national security at grave risk.
“Given the extent of this injustice and the high stakes involved, many Africans are asking whether this phenomenon is by accident or by design.
“Member nations must reply by working with us to deter their firms and nationals from this 21st century pillage of the continent’s riches,” said Tinubu.