Former President of Nigeria, the Honorable Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, says it is “criminal” for any country not to participate in the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area [AfCFTA] currently ongoing in Kigali, Rwanda.
The current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni are not participating in the summit organised by the new African Union chairman, President Paul Kagame.
Speaking at the launch on Tuesday, President Obasanjo told President Kagame: “If the AfCFTA is not implemented during your tenure as Chairperson of the African Union, then we will have missed a great opportunity.”
Obasanjo who also met the new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Africa must get its political leaders sufficiently educated (on such initiatives like AfCFTA).
“Because I think some do not know enough,” he noted, explaining that the political will sometimes is just not there and it is because some of the political leaders are not knowledgeable.
“We need to get them educated. We need a critical mass of hands, heads and minds of political leadership and private sector leadership.”
He went on: “I am surprised that any African leader at this time would be doubting or debating the benefits of what is going to be signed here and fail to show up. I find it criminal.”
He called on President Kagame to educate such African leaders like Buhari and Museveni who cancelled the trip to Kigali on the last minute.
Museveni who claimed to be busy sent Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, to represent him.
Buhari was scheduled to leave Abuja on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s launch but pulled out to allow for more consultations.