Tinubu, Talon meet to boost economic prosperity in West Africa

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Wednesday met with President Patrice Talon of Benin Republic in a bid to boost economic prosperity among the countries in West Africa.

Tinubu in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, said cooperation is imperative for economic prosperity in the West African region.

He further noted that a lack of synergy between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin has been an encumbrance to mutual development.

Tinubu also said that Nigeria and Benin Republic share a lot in common, describing both countries as conjoined twins held together at the hip.

“We are one. No other nation like ours should be worried. What is affecting us is a lack of synergy. We have not developed the necessary economic synergy that will develop our two nations,” he said.

“We must have common economic principles and priorities. The economic programme you are developing through inter-ministerial collaboration is welcomed by me.

“We will support all of our private sector interests to facilitate prosperity in both of our important countries. I appreciate the urgency of your approach, and we welcome this.

“Leadership is sometimes defined by urgent action. Thank you for your quality leadership. We are together. I am not a backward looking person. I look forward. This is how I avoid missing steps.”

President Talon, who was at the State House to seek the support of Tinubu on improving trade relations, ahead of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit, described the relationship between his country and Nigeria as crucial.

According to Talon, Benin Republic is seeking stronger trade ties with Nigeria, emphasizing the free movement of people and goods between both countries.

“Benin has started implementing a national development plan which includes enhanced integration between Nigeria and Benin Republic,” Talon said.

“Our development plan includes taking into account what investments are required in Benin to enhance our integration with Nigeria in trade terms.

“It is true that many agreements have been signed to push our integration forward, but they have not been implemented.

“At the level of ECOWAS, we embrace free movement and integration, and at the African level, AfCFTA envisages this; so we need to move urgently to make this a reality.

“Our investment programme must be revised to factor in all factors of the Nigerian economy. We seek to set up an inter-ministerial technical committee that will jointly prepare a draft document for our legislatures.”

Talon said that he is ready to sign an executive order to appoint members of the council to advance mutually beneficial cooperation across sectors.

He also pointed out that there have been difficulties bilaterally on the issue of smuggling but his administration will work hard to coordinate and ensure that Nigeria’s interests are protected as both countries integrate their economies.

“I want us to make history together,” President Talon said during the meeting which took place at the State House in Abuja.


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