The second South – South Economic Summit, organised on the broad theme “Integrating the South – South for Sustainable Development” (with special emphasis on Development, Investment and Security) was held at the Convention Centre, Asaba, Delta State under the auspices of the BRACED States – Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta.
The Main Objective of the Summit was to show-case the rich investment potentials of the South – South Region of the Country thereby attracting new investors as well as servicing external investments.
The Summit was graced by the presence of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, GCON), His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda (represented by Mr. John Gara) and many other distinguished personalities and functionaries, notably Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and other Summit Speakers and Participants.
The Summit acknowledged the active participation of the private sector and key Federal Ministries.
The Summit noted the progress made since the maiden edition was held in Calabar on April, 22 – 25, 2009. This include the signing of the BRACED Agreement on June 13, 2011 which provides the legal framework for the co-operation of the BRACED States; the establishment of the BRACED Commission, the appointment of the pioneer Director General of the BRACED Commission and the adoption of the common Priority Focal Areas of development (Agriculture, Environment, Infrastructure Development, Human Capacity Development and Industrialization) by the BRACED Commission Governors’ Council.
The Summit reaffirmed the imperative of regional co-operation as a practical path towards national development and welcomes the emergence of other Regional Development Commissions with expression of readiness for co-operation with them by BRACED Commission.
The Summit recognised that there has been tremendous improvement on the security situation in the region and further the South – South as a region of peace, stability and immense investment opportunities and called upon its development partners to support the region. It called for continued pro-active approach in managing security in the region.
It was noted that while the proceeding was ongoing, the facilities of three Newspaper Houses in Abuja and Kaduna were bombed. The Summit condemned the dastardly act and condoled with the families of the victims of the bombing.
The Summit urged BRACED Commission to boldly provide developmental leadership for Nigeria as this is consistent with the historical antecedents of the South – South region and its resourcefulness.
The Summit also adopted the following recommendations:
1. That the Federation should be restructured and unbundled including the review of the current revenue allocation formula, to give more powers, responsibilities and funding to the States and Local Government as centres of growth.
2. To strengthen the nascent governance structure in the Region to incorporate private sector and other non-state actors with a view to creating favourable policy, legal and regulatory environment that will stimulate greater private sector participation in the development initiatives of the Region.
3. To review the current policies and regulations on power and gas to enable the States generate, transmit and distribute power to complement the efforts of the Federal Government and facilitate the utilization of moribund capacity in the Region. This will promote and accelerate economic development in the South – South Region. In pursuit of this, the Summit accepted the development of a Niger Delta Energy Corridor, a project with potentials for connecting the people, industry and natural resources and creating jobs.
4. To accelerate the implementation of agricultural development initiatives as the Region’s Priority Focal Area. This will complement the Federal Government Transformation Agenda on Agriculture.
5. To develop integrated transport facilities in the Region, through a balanced development of rail, roads, waterways and airport facilities.
6. To partner the Federal Government and the Private Sector in the development of the Lagos – Calabar Railway Lines Project and press for the urgent completion of the East – West Highway.
7. To ensure quality education in the Region and the adoption of ICT and collateral equipments for all levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary). A renewed impetus in the areas of curriculum development, teachers’ preparation, re-certification (in-service and professional education) and holistic training approach was recommended.
8. Supports the conveying of Regional Education Conference.
9. To encourage research and development and use of technology to promote the desired accelerated development of the Region.
10. To adopt and implement policies that will release vast potentials of service economy of the Region in the areas of creative industry, entertainment, culture and tourism. In pursuit of this a follow-up Culture and Tourism Forum should be organised to draw up the Sector’s Road – Map for economic development.
11. To adopt pro-active and inclusive approach to security in the broad sense which will include public safety, food job security and accordingly link investment to same and harness the untapped energies and creativity of the youth population through job creation.
12. The immediate adoption of mitigation and adaptation measures in climate change, bio-diversity conservation, land – use planning and infrastructural designs by BRACED States and key into investment opportunities opened.
13. To revitalise the public service as a key development driver.
The Summit directed the BRACED Commission to translate the recommendations into a measurable and achievable Plan of Action and engage the appropriate stakeholders on Post – Summit issues as elaborated in the Summit’s presentations and dialogues.
The Summit expressed its appreciation to the six Governors of the BRACED States – Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta, and urge them to continue to show exemplary leadership and commitment to good governance. The Summit also commended the people and Government of Delta State for hosting the grand event. The Summit appreciated the Planners, Paper Presenters and Participants and endorsed the annual event as a veritable platform of interaction, information and knowledge sharing which should be sustained.
H.E. Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor – Bayelsa State
H.E. Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON, Governor – Rivers State
H.E. Obong (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio, CON, Governor – Akwa Ibom State
H.E. Senator Liyel Imoke, CON, Governor – Cross River State
H.E. Adams Oshiomhole, CON, Governor – Edo State
H.E. (Dr.) Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor – Delta State
Amb. Joe Keshi, OON, Director-General, BRACED Commission