African leaders urged to stop begging
By Lovemore Ranga Mataire
PRETORIA – African leaders have been urged to stop relying on external help to fund regional programmes and projects.
Leading a SADC Council of Ministers meeting discussion, new council chairperson, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said time had come for the continent to be self-reliant.
“We live in one of the world’s richest continents, if not region with the poorest people. This needs to stop somewhere.
“We are tired of going around with a begging bowel when we have so much for us, from land to all that you know,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
She praised Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe for initiating discussion on the need to spur regional industrialisation through beneficiation of rich natural resources.
“It was at our mission in Harare that His Excellence President Mugabe made a special session of the Heads of States and Government summit for the region to focus on industrialisation so that we don’t remain raw exporters and receive finished products from somewhere,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
She said since President Mugabe’s call for self-reliance, the region was now focusing on beneficiation and integration and empowering its young population with skills.
She said there was need to acknowledge other value chains which include the free movement of the region’s people.
Immediate past Council of Ministers chairperson, Swaziland’s Minister of Economic Planning and Development Prince Hlangusemphi Dlamini, echoed the same sentiments saying the region’s dependence on international cooperation partners to finance regional programmes and projects was not sustainable.
He said there was so much goodwill from African leaders to chart a new development path through harnessing local resources.
The minister said regional leaders must expedite the setting up of a SADC Development Fund to spearhead regional industrialisation.
The 37th SADC summit is running under the theme, “Partnering With the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.
President Mugabe’s call for both the African Union and SADC to initiate industrialisation through harnessing local resources seems to have an enduring effect as evidenced by the discussions that have so far taken place since the start of the summit on 9 August.