Speaking at an audience with Zambia’s new High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lt.-Col. Bizwayo Newton Nkunika (rtd.), President Jonathan said that while notable macro-economic growth had been achieved across the continent in recent years, African leaders must now focus more on translating such gains into improved living conditions for their people.
The President noted that Africa’s political independence would only become truly meaningful to its citizens with visible improvements in human development indicators such as reduction in poverty levels, access to better healthcare facilities, good education and employment opportunities for their children.
Remarking that the challenge of poverty unfortunately continues to blur other achievements in Africa since the continent attained political liberation, President Jonathan said that African leaders clearly needed to prioritize job creation and poverty reduction.
“African countries need to improve on trade and investment as this is the only way to create jobs and to reduce poverty. Nigeria will continue to encourage intra-African trade and business as that will help to move the continent forward,” he said.
President Jonathan also urged other African leaders to fulfill promises of opening up their economies to greater regional and intra-continental trade, while re-positioning their countries to attract more foreign direct investments through increased political and economic stability.
President Jonathan also received letters of credence from the new Ambassador of Denmark to Nigeria, Ms. Margit Thomsen and the new Ambassador of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr. Johannes Cornelis Maria Groffenf.
Welcoming all three new ambassadors to the country, the President urged them to work for enhanced bilateral relations between their countries and Nigeria.
President Jonathan also received the outing Ambassador of Burkina Faso, Mr. Dramare Yameogo.
He commended Mr. Yameogo for his efforts to improve on the existing cordial relations between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, and wished him success in his future assignments.