By Femi Adesina
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday urged leaders of the Global South to agree on a common agenda on ways to reduce the increasing burden of debt and inflation on that region of the world.
Addressing the Global South Virtual Summit, the President expressed optimism that the meeting, hosted by India, in its capacity as the voice of the South, will address issues of climate change, food security and access to energy.
‘‘This huge debt burden has significantly derailed many countries’ development plans. The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine conflict has further aggravated the situation.
‘‘In this regard, I wish to advise fellow leaders to agree on a common agenda to enable us to put forward our collective demands to the Global North through India as voice of the South.
‘‘I would urge India to further intensify efforts to facilitate the flow of Foreign Direct Investment to the Global South using its leverage as President of G20,’’ the Nigerian leader said .
Expressing appreciation to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, for inviting him to participate in the Summit, President Buhari noted that the Global South was driven by historical ties and sense of deep solidarity in pursuit of bridging the gap between the South and the North.
He described as very commendable the initiative to convene the summit entitled ‘‘the Voice of the Global South’’ under the theme: Unity of Voice and Unity of Purpose.
He hailed India’s emergence as voice of the Global South, considering the role the country played during its two-year terms at the United Nations Security Council and the humanitarian gesture it extended during the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘‘Excellencies, it is in line with the vision of One Earth, One Family, One Future that India calls for this Summit, bringing together leaders of the South to share their perspectives and priorities on a common platform ahead of the G20 Summit later this year.
‘‘Nigeria is in full support of this noble initiative and hope that the outcome of the Summit will be given top priority at the G20 meetings,’’ President Buhari said.
Leaders of India, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Peru delivered statements at the Summit.
@views exclusive rights: Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, January 13, 2023.