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On Friday, January 15, 2016, Former President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan delivered the opening remarks at the Hope Global Forum discussing Emerging Africa: Beyond the Headlines.

Prior to the event, he met privately with Ambassador Andrew Young and John Bryant Hope, Chairman and Founder of HOPE. Also at the event were Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta, GA, former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders, Atlanta Mayor, Mayor Kassim Reed, and other city fathers.

2016 is the first year the Hope Global Forums has showcased Sub Saharan Africa. During his opening remarks, ex President Jonathan drew parallels between Africa and Nigeria’s economic and social struggles to those of Atlanta and the HOPE foundation.

He stated that he was devoting his post presidential life to partnering with others of like mind to develop the African continent by working for political stability and wealth creation.

The former President gave highlights of his experience as head of the Commonwealth Election Observer mission to Tanzania. He also lamented the fact that Africa, which has 15% of the world’s population, only controls 2.5% of global trade.

In particular, he drew applause from the audience of dignitaries when he said “If we do not add value to our commodity exports, all we will be doing is exporting jobs”. He also got a standing ovation for calling for affirmative action to empower African women politically, economically and socially.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan also talked about his administration’s policy of empowering youths with capital through such interventionist programs like Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) and the Nagropreneurs initiative. He encouraged other African nations to introduce similar policies.

President Jonathan finally called on the August body to continue to support Nigeria and Africa’s economic progress through trade and investment noting that “foreign aid can never help Africa grow its economy. It can only help you exist vegetatively”.

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