PRESIDENT John Magufuli has challenged African leaders to get rid of donor reliance mentality, saying the continent is endowed with abundant resources.
He argued that Africa must now push for economic diplomacy as the basis of cooperation to fast track development.
Dr Magufuli made the remarks in Dar es Salaam at the official opening of the 18th Africa- Nordic Foreign Ministers meeting, themed “Partnering for Sustainable Development.”
He said besides good cooperation and achievements attained between Africa and Nordic countries, there was still opportunity to strengthen cooperation that will benefit both sides.
“Our cooperation has for a long time been centred on donor-recipient affiliation...this kind of cooperation is neither sustainable nor relevant to the current situation. Most of the African leaders are now aware that the fate of our continent is on our hands and the political independence may be meaningless if African nations continually rely on donors economically,” he said.
President Magufuli said that Africa was endowed with abundant resources to help the continent to attain economic independence through cooperation with Nordic countries in trade and investments.
“Africa is rich in marine resources, livestock, natural gas, minerals and tourist attractions, which can be used to improve the continent economy,” he said.
President Magufuli further observed that Africa was also rich in business and investment opportunities compared to Nordic countries but the continent has been lagging behind as Nordic nations attained high level of development.
He said the five Nordic countries with 3.5 million square metres and 27 million people recorded 1.7 trillion US dollars as their combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 while Africa with 1.2 billion population had 2.334 trillion dollars in combined GDP.
He challenged Africa to learn from the Nordic countries, further saying it was the responsibility of African leaders to join forces in managing their resources and developing various sectors like agriculture, mining, forestry, oil, gas, energy and livestock.
Dr Magufuli noted that 30 per cent of suitable agricultural land globally is in Africa, adding that statistics showed that among the leading 10 countries in economic growth, five were African.
“This is an opportunity, which can be used to promote development in Africa.”
He however appreciated the Nordic countries for their invaluable contribution to Africa during the liberation struggles and in areas of health, education and science as well as peace and security related issues.
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide said the Nordic countries remain committed to cooperation with African friends and partners, describing the Africa-Nordic meeting as the manifestation of their progressing bond.
“Development cooperation remains an important part of our relationship...over the past 20 years, our relationship with African countries have broadened, political dialogue, private sector cooperation and multilateral cooperation is now the backbone of our bilateral interactions,” she said.
Ms Søreide said if they were to solve the greatest challenges of their time, they needed more multilateral cooperation.
“Global issues like climate change, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and communicable diseases go beyond what any single state can manage alone. This meeting is a key opportunity to engage in substantive dialogue between our countries and how to work together to strengthen multilateral cooperation,” Ms Søreide said.