Home BUSINESS Thanks For Coming Amidst Insecurity, Jonathan Greets World Leaders At Economic Forum

Thanks For Coming Amidst Insecurity, Jonathan Greets World Leaders At Economic Forum

jonathan imagePresident Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his gratitude to over 1,000 participants, including Presidents, Prime Ministers and other world leaders who turned up in Abuja, Nigeria for the World Economic Forum despite the obvious hightened insecurity in the country. The Forum is now in the second day today.
The President who spoke at the High-Level closing plenary of Grow Africa‎, with the theme: A Leadership Agenda for Investing in African Agriculture on Wednesday commended the participants for not giving into to the threat of terror.
The High-Level closing plenary of Grow Africa‎ was held at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja. Jonathan was also full of praises for the organizers of the Forum, the WEF team for not canceling the event.
It would be recalled that members of the dreaded Boko Haram had, a few days to the event, struck twice at Nyanya, a Nigeria’s Federal Capital suburb, killing a number of people. Boko Haram also abducted over 200 female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State.
President Jonathan who joined the panelists, made up of Presidents of Tanzania, Jakaya Kiweta; ‎Paul Kigame of Rwanda, Boni Yayi of Benin Republic and Prime Minister of Cote d Ivore, Daniel Duncan‎, said that Nigeria is committed to self sufficiency in agriculture, especially production of rice for domestic and export purposes, stressing that his government is committed to moving agriculture from rural development to business and wealth creation.
Jonathan enjoined Africa to create enabling environment for private investors to get returns on their investments in agriculture, adding that that is the only way to attract them to the sector.
“No country can ‎claim to be developed if you cannot feed yourself,” the President said, adding that his administration has dedicated 30 per cent of agric funds to women.
He advised African leaders to go beyond campaign ‎slogans if they want to reap the benefits of investment in agriculture, stressing the importance of encouraging the private sector to invest in agriculture.
“You have to create environment to encourage investment because businessmen do not run charity organizations. That is why ‎we are now looking at agriculture as a business. The youths before now see agriculture as something that is left for the poor and old people in the villages with traditional instruments.
“If you invest in agriculture you will make returns on your investment. Agriculture is key because people must eat food no matter the situation. You can be sick and choose not to go to the hospital but you must eat every day.”
He disclosed that Nigeria’s import bill is very high because it imports almost everything, adding: “that is why we are producing food for local consumption as well as to create jobs for our young people.‎
“There is a unique opportunity in agriculture because you will create jobs, achieve food nutrition and empower women.
“Before now, lending to farmers was 2.5 percent but presently it is 5 per cent and we are targeting a higher percentage.
‎”Before now, African leaders were playing politics with agriculture but today the story has changed.
“In Nigerian, we dedicated 30 per cent of loans to women and encourage young men and women to be interested in modern agriculture. ‎Financial inclusion is one of the limitations that discouraged young people from investing in agriculture. But if we encourage them, they will be attracted to the sector.”
The panelists, including
Kiwete, Kigame, Yayi and Duncan unanimously agreed on the importance of involving the private sector in development of agric sector even as President Kigame made it clear that the  importance of agriculture cannot be overs emphasized.
“We are only focusing on it to maximise it’s benefits for us and our people..”

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