OpinionShared History to Shared Prosperity Through Ties Between Nigeria, Caribbean

Shared History to Shared Prosperity Through Ties Between Nigeria, Caribbean

May 12, (THEWILL)- The call for deeper economic ties and trade between the Caribbean and African countries, particularly Nigeria, is not just a matter of convenience; it is a strategic imperative for unlocking the full potential of both regions.

For African nations to move towards economic prosperity and abundance, trade relations with our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean are a must. We must go beyond the rhetoric. We must take action now.

The history of Africans forcibly taken to the Caribbean during the transatlantic slave trade serves as a poignant reminder of our shared heritage and interconnectedness. Millions of Africans endured unimaginable suffering and hardship as they were torn from their homelands and transported across the ocean to work on plantations in the Caribbean. Their resilience and resistance in the face of oppression laid the foundation for the vibrant cultures and communities which thrive in the Caribbean today.

As Vice President Ronnie Brunswijk of Suriname rightly pointed out, there exists a wealth of untapped economic and cultural synergies waiting to be harnessed for the mutual benefit of our nations.

Brunswijk’s commitment to deepening ties between Suriname, Nigeria and other African nations underscores the importance of strengthening connections across the Atlantic. By fostering direct flights between Caribbean countries and Africa, we can facilitate greater trade, investment and cultural exchange, leading to a myriad of multiplier effects.

In one of its numerous interventions to connect Africa and the Caribbean, The African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim Bank) emphasises the immense potential for AfriCaribbean nations to forge significantly greater trade and investment linkages. According to it, by bolstering economic cooperation, we can stimulate growth and development, creating opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities on both sides of the ocean.

At the 30th Anniversary Annual Meetings in Accra, Ghana, of Afreximbank in Ghana, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, asked for unity in the Caribbean and African nations to pave the path of development. PM Mottley asserted, “We, the leaders of the Caribbean and African nations, must continue our developmental journeys together, for the path to our mutual success will be one forged in unity.”

“Today was a historic moment for people of African descent. It was clear to me that as we came together – leaders from the Caribbean and the African continent – the path to our mutual success will be one forged by unity,” said the prime minister. She said that whether it be by improving the connectivity of their people by increased airlift, functional cooperation, improved access to services, tourism and cultural exchanges or creating linkages between their regional institutions, their experiences and the work they have done to get to this point has shown them that they can and will find success by looking east and west to each other, instead of only looking north.

Indeed, direct transport linkages between the Caribbean and Africa will not only streamline trade but also foster greater cultural understanding and collaboration. Through increased tourism, educational exchanges, and artistic endeavours, we can celebrate our shared heritage and diversity, enriching the fabric of both regions.

Deeper economic ties between the Caribbean and Africa hold the key to addressing pressing global challenges, such as climate change. By leveraging our collective strength and resources, we can advocate for sustainable development practices and secure global action to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

As more and more senior policymakers from the Caribbean are stretching forth their hands of fellowship to us in Africa, we must exchange the gesture by deploying our economic arsenal to make the handshake an economic prosperity reality. Nigeria, being the biggest economy in Africa, must take the lead in this respect.

As Vice President Brunswijk aptly stated, “Let us unite in our commitment to forging a stronger, more vibrant partnership between the Caribbean and Africa, realising the full potential of our shared destiny.”

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Samuel O Adeyemi
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