Nigeria urges greater African engagement on public health issues

President of the FG of Nigeria, Buhari Muhammed
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Nigeria has urged for stronger African collaboration to address issues such as climate change, public health, and indigenous vaccine manufacturing, among others. 

President Muhammadu Buhari made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, according to Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President. 

Buhari addressed at an African Union (AU) summit on the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). 

The conference took place on the margins of the African Union’s 35th Ordinary Session, under the auspices of the 39th Session of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC).  

Buhari, who was represented at the virtual event by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the continent has to gird itself for more collaboration in public health. 

“To better prepare itself for intra-African collaboration to combat public health concerns, collaborate to increase vaccine manufacturing in Africa, and respond quickly to climate change and zero-emissions objectives.” 

“The COVID-19 epidemic has harmed our economies, but it has also taught us valuable lessons.” 

“One is that Africa has to do more to prepare for intra-African collaboration to combat public health concerns, particularly those of pandemic proportions.”  

“We must collaborate to increase vaccine manufacturing in Africa; the second problem I’d want to bring up is Africa’s reaction to climate change and the zero-emissions objectives set in Paris and subsequent climate change talks.” 

“Of course, we must do our part to safeguard the environment and fight climate change; nevertheless, we must also continue to establish sustainable power systems in order to speed growth and generate economic possibilities for our people.” 

Concerning climate change, the president stated that Africa requires considerably more energy than renewable sources can offer now.  

According to him, Africa would have no choice but to use gas as a transition fuel. 

“We must work together to demonstrate to the developed world that the current trend of withholding financing for gas development investment is the wrong thing to do at this time.” 

Buhari praised Nigeria’s accomplishment in domesticating the NEPAD framework for sustainable development, claiming that growth in the Nigerian ICT industry had been spectacular. 

He said that ICT will have the greatest growth rate of any sector of the Nigerian economy in 2020. 

“By stepping up agricultural development, NEPAD-inspired Home-Grown School Feeding, and other Social Intervention Programs, we are feeding over nine million students in public schools every day and considerably improving our people’s lives.”  

“It is worth noting that, as part of COVID-19, Nigeria is now pursuing an innovative enhancement of smallholder farmer skills toward productive land restoration through regional collaboration.” 

“This is done not only to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the nation, but also to speed up the execution of Africa’s regional program to repair degraded lands.”  

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