Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo delivers a speech in İzmir. Daily News Photo, Emrah Güler.
The Marmara Group Foundation is one of the most active nongovernmental organizations in the world, according to former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo.
“Thank you for remembering Africa at this meeting. Generally, Africa is remembered only on the map,” he said.
At first, the subject of the meeting, namely hunger, unemployment and poverty seemed to be only for Africa, but listening to his colleagues showed that these problems are not limited to Africa, but are experienced in the world, Obasanjo said.
“Youth unemployment is a bigger threat than nuclear power. It is said that the rate of unemployed youth in Spain and Greece
has hit 50 percent. It is even worse in Africa. Half of our population is under 25 years old and 50 percent of them are unemployed,” he said.
Turkey’s solution to fight against hunger, poverty and unemployment can set a model for the world, he said, adding that İzmir was the most important symbol of this model. “I call this the İzmir Model, or the İzmir Solution Model,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Romanian President Ion Iliescu said that capitalism should update itself, adding that a political will was needed to solve these problems.
Globalization has resulted in rising hunger, poverty and unemployment as global firms aim to increase profits by paying very little in countries they are active in, he said. The social state is a better employer than free markets.
“Values should be changed fundamentally and those changes should underlie economic theories,” agreed another former Romanian Presdient, Emil Konstantinescu.
Poverty should not be merely a statistic, said Petar Stoyanov, a former Bulgarian President, adding that it should be dealt with as a human rights issue.
A quickly-rising world population necessitates the reviewing of all values, said Arnold Rüütel, the first President of independent Estonia, adding that water shortage could cause wars if not tackled.