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…Sees Japan conference as diversionary
Leading development economists and foreign policy specialists have started advancing facts that may have been considered by Group of Seven (G7) Heads of Government Summit in France in not extending invitation to the president of the most populous African country and largest economy in the continent.
Pundits also argued that the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), taking place in Yokohama, Japan from August 28 – 30, 2019, which President Muhammadu Buhari is attending may not be as beneficial as the missed but ongoing G7 meeting based on the fact that discussions in Japan may not have the quality and deep pocket business coloration that is likely to emerge in France.
Whereas former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Bola Akinterinwa linked the embarrassing development the country’s poor foreign policy focus, development economist, Dr Ken Etebo averred that lack of a clear economic direction also have a hand.
According to Etebo, “The economic direction of the current government has remained very hard for both local and international analysts to comprehend or decode the true direction beginning from the first term to date.”
“Midway into President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term, Nigerians woke up one morning to see the introduction of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), but since May 29, I have not heard anything on that bogus policy and no government official has mentioned it or informed Nigeria the particular stage of implementation it is now.
“Before the end of last year, there were series of Executive Orders (EOs), but today, all the forces that came with each of the EOs have lost in the radar of economic policy trust.
He said “The strength of the celebrated economic diversification drive of the government seems to have gone to the winds as no clear policy trust to end the farmers/herdsmen crisis and jumping insecurity issues which are serious threats to economic diversification are yet to be addressed.
According to him, “G7 may have felt that for a government to run for over three months without a cabinet means lack of seriousness in economic development and foreign policy trust.
“Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and the country with the largest population, which should have qualified her for an invitation to the meeting of the top industrialised nations.
“Recall that Nigeria was not also invited to the last summit held in Canada. Only Senegal, South Africa and Egypt were invited in the ongoing G7 and if you look at the development planning trajectories of the three African economies, you will clear set targets and visible workable policies to achieve them.
“So I think G7 invited serious economies that are effectively working to join the developed nation’s club and not economies that joke around with poverty and insecurity at a time global economies are on rocket speed development planning and industrial growth
Also speaking, Prof. Akinterinwa, in an interview argued that “You would need to be agreeable to be invited to take a decision. So, who they believe should be invited are those countries that they have invited.
“So, the truth of the matter is that Nigeria’s foreign policy is lacklustre; it doesn’t have any focus, and it is not ideologically driven; always very reactive.
“More importantly, the President is the chief servant, but the entourage working with him are not allowing him to see clearly.
“One major reason which explains why we couldn’t have been invited is that countries like Senegal, their foreign policies are always well-protected in France. They are very close to the European Union, but our own former colonial master is the one going out of the European Union. So, how will you want Britain to now come, advice and be pushing for Nigeria to be invited to an organisation itself is seeking to get out from? It’s not logically consistent.
“Our foreign policy objectives are at best ill-defined. We don’t have it. Look at what we call foreign policy focus. Donald Trump set one example. He said America first. What does that mean? America first simply means that the determination of the priority of interest whenever they are at stake; it means under no circumstance will there be any interest that is superior to that of the United States of America.
“Donald Trump, after America first, moved to the level of saying Make America Great Again. That has been his propaganda, but now as he is contesting for re-election now, he is saying “Keep America Great’, he is not saying Make America Great, he is saying that America is already great, let us sustain it.
“What are we doing about Nigeria? In South Africa, they are killing Nigerians on a daily basis and then the foreign minister will come and tell us that they have signed one agreement with South Africa or they are going to have bi-national Commission. We are not really serious in this country. We have people whether they are cabinet members or politicians, who only think in terms of the centre-plan as national interest.”
Business Hilights recalls that the G7 is a bloc comprising industrialised democracies, namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Statistics show that the world choice group meets yearly to discuss issues such as global economic and political governance.
Besides, like the G20, the G7 does not have a permanent secretariat or legal status and features the participation of ministers, central bank governors and heads of states of major industrialised economies, with member states accounting for 10 per cent of the world’s population and 46 per cent of the global gross Domestic Product.
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