Dr Benson Bana, High Commissioner of Tanzania to Nigeria, has stressed the need for constant dialogue on political and economic issues in Africa towards enhancing continental growth.

Bana made the call in his welcome address at the Special Dialogue organised by the mission to commemorate the five-day 60th independence anniversary celebration of Tanzania, in Abuja.

He explained that the special dialogue symbolized the climax of the mission’s independence celebration that started from Saturday Dec. 5 to Wednesday 9, 2021.

According to him, the dialogue is designed to create a discourse on shared concerns relating to Africa, which include the consolidation of independence and uninterrupted civilian rule in the continent.

“The dialogue will address issues that pertain to Pan-Africa and liberation struggles in Southern Africa.

“The dialogue will see some foreign policies of African countries in the advent of African Continental Free Trade area protocols.

“The dialogue will try to locate missing links in the political and economic development of Africa, we learn from other jurisdictions that the two go together, but are rare in the continent.

“We have made giant strides on the political front, free civil society organisations, free media houses, but the same development does not manifest in economic development of citizenry.

“We still have a lot of people living below the abject poverty line,” Bana said.

He acknowledged the increase in the number of women in positions of leadership in Africa, saying that for the first time, “Tanzania has a female president, who is also Commander-in Chief of the armed forces and Chairman of the ruling party.”

He suggested that Tanzania President, Samia Suluhu Hassan should be a source of inspiration to other African women who want to vie for elective political positions, adding that women can equally succeed in politics.

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Also speaking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr  Geoffrey Onyeama, congratulated Tanzania on its 60th independence anniversary celebration.

Onyeama, represented by Engr. Ahmed Amshi, Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission, specifically commended Bana for the independence celebration initiative.

“A well-packaged programme, most especially the Special Dialogue, whereby we have picked up lots of issues that will bring development to our respective countries.

“We hope all the issues raised will be taken into consideration and taken back to our respective countries, so that we will be able to make Africa grow.

“All the issues relate to Africa and I think the more we talk the better, although there have always been complaints that we talk, one day somebody will hear it and things will improve.

“So, let us continue talking, let us continue discussing, let us continue filing the ideas and I am sure these will help us,” Onyeama said.

He urged other African countries to emulate Tanzania’s sustained democratic rule.

He, however, urged Africans, particularly Nigerians, to always think positively about their fatherland, saying the more you see the negative aspects, you will never see the positive aspects about the country.

The Special Dialogue moderated by Mrs Esther Mshelia, Convener and CEO, Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative featured panel discussion on the need for inclusion of women in development planning and implementation.

The discussion featured Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, represented by Habibat Pat-Eluame, Ambassador of Namibia, Amb. Humphrey Geiseb and Mr Osita Okechukwu, Director-General Voice of Nigeria.

Also were Mr Francis Anatogu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Matters and Secretary Nigerian National Compassion Committee of AfCFTA and Mr Stanislas Kamanzi, High Commissioner of Rwanda to Nigeria. (NAN)