Africa must look within
Port Louis– Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday said reliance by some African countries on former colonial masters threatened the success of the continental development agenda.
Speaking during the on-going African Economic Platform (AEP) being held in Port Louis, Mauritius, President Mugabe said excessive reliance on formerwas impeding attainment of Africa’s development goals.
“It has not been that easy to be in step with each other. Some countries were reluctant and still are reluctant to be quite in step with others in pursuing those policies which would make us one and which would further the common good of all of us,” he said during a plenary discussion.
“Some countries rely on them (former colonial masters) completely for their security and stability, rely on them for even the development of their cultural aspects of society.”
President Mugabe added; “We do not think alike, we do not have the same ambitions, we do not have the same objectives as we visualize the lives of our people. Can we ever think as one? I do not think so, it will take us some time.”
He said efforts at economic transformation were being retarded by the un-ending interference by former colonial powers.
For instance, he said Zimbabwe faced economic sanctions, imposed on Harare after the land redistribution program which corrected a colonial imbalance.
“We have in our systems today so much interference by outsiders, sometimes direct but now very commonly through what they call NGOs. There is no country in Africa without NGOs, none at all. So we have not been left to ourselves to do our own things, to develop ourselves indigenously, no,” he said.
Other challenges President Mugabe cited included barriers to inter-Africa trade, terrorism and flight of skilled human resources.
He said cooperation among African nations could have the same effect with that of international partners.
“We have been facing the fact that we think in some cases that co-operating with outsider is more beneficial than co-operating with each other. Trading with each other is avoided and the consequences are that we do not develop inter-trade within our regions,” he said.
President Mugabe also said, more developed countries on the continent, for example South Africa, had a bigger role to play in assisting others develop their economies.
The AEP, an Agenda 2063 programme that brings together African Heads of State, captains of industry and academics to discuss African development priorities and challenges, opened on Monday and runs until Wednesday.– New Ziana