Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday urged African countries to wean itself off donor dependency, saying the continent has abundant potential to advance ahead.
“Africa should rethink and reposition itself by taking stock of where we went wrong,” said Magufuli when he officially opened the 18th African-Nordic Foreign Ministers’ meeting in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
He said the African continent was endowed with abundant natural resources and arable land that could turn the continent into a powerful economic house.
“Africa is rich in marine resources along its coast, livestock, natural gas, minerals and tourist attractions,” said the head of state, adding: “Africa must produce, process and export to advance its economies.”
He told the meeting, also attended by former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete, that African leaders should understand that the destiny of Africa was in the hands of Africans.
He said the cooperation between Nordic countries and Africa should shift from donor-recipient to partnership in trade and investments.
Magufuli thanked the Nordic countries for their invaluable contribution to Africa during the liberation struggle and in areas of health, education, science and issues related to peace and security.
Ine Eriksen Soreide, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the relationship between Nordic countries and Africa has broadened over the past 20 years.
She said the two sides have been dealing with addressing global issues, including climate change, terrorism and the maintenance of peace and security.
“Good ideas grow among friends,” said Soreide, adding that the meeting should act as a building block for growing relations.
Palamagamba Kabudi, Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, said the meeting was expected to discuss ways of advancing peace and security and promotion of trade and investment between the two sides.
The meeting was attended by 29 African countries and Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.