Africa-Arab pact can al­ter global econ­omy: Pres­i­dent

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - From Kuda Bwititi in Mal­abo, Equa­to­rial Guinea

AFRICAN and Arab na­tions have po­ten­tial to form a for­mi­da­ble force that can shake the global eco­nomic or­der for the ben­e­fit of peo­ple from the two re­gions, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has said.

Speak­ing at the 4th Africa Arab Heads of States sum­mit that ended here yes­ter­day, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the two re­gions should fos­ter mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ships to undo the im­bal­ance of the North/South co­op­er­a­tion skewed in favour of coun­tries from the north.

“The un­bal­anced North/South co­op­er­a­tion, an ex­ten­sion of the colo­nial sys­tem, has demon­strated re­peated fail­ures, es­pe­cially for less priv­i­leged coun­tries of the South.

“They have sim­ply tagged along, and only ‘de­vel­oped’ along the dic­tates of the wealthy north­ern­ers.

“For the coun­tries of the South, the eco­nomic pat­tern has been the con­tin­u­ous ex­port of pri­mary prod­ucts and raw ma­te­ri­als to feed the in­sa­tiable in­dus­trial needs of the north­ern­ers.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said Africa and Arab could lever­age on ge­o­graphic propin­quity and cul­tural back­ground to boost trade and in­vest­ment. “It is my fer­vent hope that the Africa-Arab Co­op­er­a­tion can, and should be utilised, as an in­stru­ment to en­hance trade and in­vest­ment.

“This re­la­tion­ship should be taken to higher lev­els that re­flect the strong cul­tural ties, the ge­o­graph­i­cal prox­im­ity and the tremen­dous po­ten­tial that ex­ists within and be­tween our two re­gions.”

He said global eco­nomic chal­lenges such as fickle com­mod­ity prices and cur­ren­cies could be com­bated through strateg ic par t n e rs h i p s . “Most of our coun­tries are cur­rently un­der pres­sure due to global com­mod­ity prices, fluc­tu­at­ing cur­ren­cies and shrink­ing GDP growth. “We, there­fore, need to iden­tify and ac­cel­er­ate trans­for­ma­tion of key sec­tors of our economies through build­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships, if we are to al­le­vi­ate negative im­pact of these chal­lenges.” Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said Africa could be a re­li­able part­ner for Arab states as the con­ti­nent had shown its com­mit­ment to progress by un­der­tak­ing a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to chart the course for de­vel­op­ment. “Since the last Africa-Arab Sum­mit in Kuwait, in 2013, Africa has not been stag­nant in its de­sire to progress and im­prove the lives and well-be­ing of its peo­ple. In 2015, the African Union adopted Agenda 2063, which is a 50 year col­lec­tive con­ti­nen­tal vi­sion and roadmap. “The Agenda aims to speed-up our ac­tions in the erad­i­ca­tion of poverty by 2025, to pro­mote sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, re­search and in­no­va­tion to trans­form growth and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion through ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and value ad­di­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources and to recog­nise agri­cul­ture and agrobusi­ness.” Pres­i­dent Mu g a b e said the Z imAs­set blueprint had tapped into sup­port from Arab coun­tries as the coun­try had been a re­cip­i­ent of mul­ti­ple de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance from Arab coun­tries over the years.

“In Zim­babwe we have been im­ple­ment­ing an eco­nomic blueprint called Zim­babwe Agenda for Sus­tain­able So­cio Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion (Zim As­set), which fo­cuses on ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and value ad­di­tion to our agri­cul­tural and min­ing re­sources and in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment.

“Zim­babwe is a ben­e­fi­ciary of as­sis­tance from Arab coun­tries’ mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions such as the Bank for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment in Africa (BADEA), Kuwait Fund for Arab Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (KFAED) and the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries (OPEC).

“In­deed, this has trans­formed our in­fras­truc­ture, en­hanced ca­pac­ity build­ing and im­proved our agri­cul­ture sec­tor. We hope this long stand­ing re­la­tion­ship has laid the foun­da­tion for fur­ther mu­tual con­sul­ta­tions and co­op­er­a­tion.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe told the sum­mit that re­form of the United Na­tions should re­main top of the agenda fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion taken at the AU sum­mit in Rwanda this year to sus­tain the push for re­struc­tur­ing of the global body.

“Al­low me to bring to your at­ten­tion some global is­sues that have been on the agenda for a very long time. Top­ping that list is cer­tainly the re­form of the United Na­tions sys­tem.

“The AU com­mon po­si­tion on the re­forms, in­clud­ing the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil is clearly spelt out in the Ezul­wini Con­sen­sus and the Sirte Dec­la­ra­tion.

“I need not em­pha­sise our strong com­mit­ment to a com­pre­hen­sive re­form that re­flects cur­rent global re­al­i­ties, as unan­i­mously reaf­firmed at the July 2016 AU sum­mit in Kigali, Rwanda.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe also af­firmed sup­port for the state of Pales­tine as well as Sa­harawi Arab Demo­cratic Repub­lic in their quest for self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and na­tional sovereignty.

Mean­while, there was drama over the Sa­harawi Repub­lic af­ter three coun­tries led by Morocco boy­cotted the sum­mit’s Min­is­te­rial meet­ings in protest over its pres­ence.

In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day, For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sim­barashe Mum­bengegwi said the mat­ter was later re­solved at the Heads of States level.

“The drama re­lat­ing to Morocco’s ob­jec­tion in re­la­tion to pres­ence of a flag and a plaque of the Sa­harawi Repub­lic took place dur­ing the meet­ings at the Min­is­te­rial level.

“The stand-off led to a de­lay in the start of the meet­ing by up to seven hours and it only re­sumed af­ter the Co-Chairs in­sisted that Morocco’s con­cerns would be heard.

“When it came to the Heads of State level, it was agreed that on the African side, ev­ery­one is en­ti­tled to at­tend all part­ner­ship meet­ings and that point was not ne­go­tiable and in the end no­body raised it.

There was no walk­out as what hap­pened dur­ing the Min­is­te­rial meet­ings.”

Min­is­ter Mum­bengewi said the sum­mit had adopted three main res­o­lu­tions, the Mal­abo dec­la­ra­tion, af­firm­ing sup­port to the Pales­tine state and work ahead for the next three years.

“There were three doc­u­ments that were adopted, the Mal­abo dec­la­ra­tion, the res­o­lu­tion on Pales­tine and then ten res­o­lu­tions on the next sum­mit

‘The res­o­lu­tions were di­rected mainly to the two sec­re­tar­iats as to the as­sign­ments they were re­quired to un­der­take be­tween now and 2019.

‘The Mal­abo dec­la­ra­tion is ba­si­cally a po­lit­i­cal, so­cioe­co­nomic doc­u­ment which de­fines ar­eas of co-oper­a­tion at the po­lit­i­cal level, at the eco­nomic level and gen­er­ally the frame­work for co-oper­a­tion.”

The sum­mit was held un­der the theme “To­gether for a Sus­tain­able Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment” and was jointly or­gan­ised by the African Union Com­mis­sion and the League of Arab States with the aim of pro­mot­ing de­vel­op­ment by strength­en­ing trade and in­vest­ment among Gulf and African states.

Sev­eral Heads of State and Govern­ments from African coun­tries and the Gulf at­tended the high pro­file con­ven­tion.

Mid­lands Provin­cial Mag­is­trate Mrs Phathek­ile Msipa takes Act­ing Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and his wife Cde Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa on a tour of the new Mvuma court house yes­ter­day

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe

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