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Mnangagwa says Africa should focus on homegrown solutions

by Staff reporter
03 Nov 2022 at 05:04hrs | Views
EVEN though Africa has its challenges, most of which are not of its making, seeking solutions from outside the continent could be its undoing and instead the continent should focus on homegrown solutions, President Mnangagwa has said.

The President, who is building Zimbabwe using its own resources in development that leaves no one and no place behind, said the panacea to problems on the continent lies with Africans.

Speaking during a roundtable question and answer session at the ongoing Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 here yesterday, President Mnangagwa said Africa's destiny was in its own hands, adding that Zimbabwe was working on homegrown solutions to solve the challenges bedevilling the country, caused mainly by illegal economic sanctions.

"We have answers in Africa to our problems. The outside world wants to see us Africans suffering, and being a source of raw materials to develop their economies," he said.

President Mnangagwa beseeched African leaders to refrain from spending time pondering over "negative perceptions from the outside world", but rather concentrate on developing the continent's economies through pursuit of its own pathway.

The Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022, to which the President was invited by the African Development Bank president Dr Akinwumi Adesina, is the largest transactional investment marketplace on the continent.

Seventeen other African heads of state and ministers as well as investors from the public and private sectors are in attendance.

The President outlined four pointers in Africa's story, which, if followed carefully, would help the continent in achieving its goals for the common good.

Firstly, he said, each African country should prioritise what it wants and invite investors accordingly.

"Secondly, before we spend time addressing the perception the outside world has about us, it's about time we integrate ourselves, and share what we have in terms of resources. Africa has quality resources, a beautiful population and know-how on how to move forward, which should not be determined by outsiders," the President said.

"We used to fall short on development, we should not fall short. If we fail to understand that we need our own development as Africa, we will look outside Africa when we could do it ourselves."

The third aspect involves collaboration and shared values among "brothers and sisters in Africa", which should be cherished always, for the outside world delights in a divided people.

"Fourthly, we have peace and security to offer to any investment, so that one will enjoy his or her investment," President Mnangagwa said.

He highlighted that the story of Zimbabwe was that of determination and resilience against all odds.

"In Zimbabwe, we have chosen to be our own masters. The development of a country should not be determined from outside", the President said.

Even though Zimbabwe was at the receiving end of illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country 21 years ago by the West for nefarious reasons, leading to "negative perceptions from the outside world", Zimbabweans have remained steadfast in defending their territorial integrity.

"They have isolated us from the international arena, but as Zimbabwe, we are a people with our priorities determined by ourselves and not by anyone else. We are a people that have learnt to find internal solutions to our problems. And, we have long back refused to be bullied.

"We will build our own country. We are our own people with our own priorities determined by ourselves. Perceptions influence the outside world. There are so many perceptions about Zimbabwe in the West," said President Mnangagwa.

In spite of the negative perceptions beamed across the world by the country's detractors, Zimbabweans have chosen to seek answers to their problems as a collective.

"We have chosen to be ourselves. We have set our targets, and the bar is very high. The development of Africa should not be determined by outsiders, but it must be an internal thing, making our own choices," the President said.

He underscored that Zimbabwe has so much to offer to those willing to invest in the country, from a conducive political environment, food security, mineral wealth and infrastructure, to human capital.

"Zimbabwe is open for business," said President Mnangagwa. "Secondly, Zimbabwe has undertaken economic reforms that are investor friendly, and offering incentives to investors.

"Thirdly, Zimbabwe has the most educated labour force that will highly produce results, and bring good returns on investments. Politically, we are a peaceful country. On the continent, we are one of the most literate countries in terms of education."

He said when the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out, Zimbabwe mitigated the possible challenges that could have befallen its citizens, since most wheat imports were from the two countries, by building dams and pushing for wheat self-reliance.

"We are secured in terms of food. We have our own minerals. Now, we are focusing on processing. We are also focusing on the agro-sector," the President said.

Lessons were also drawn from the Covid-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc on global economies. While most countries were reeling from the impact of the novel coronavirus, particularly on how to curb its spread and limiting fatalities, the Government of Zimbabwe, led by President Mnangagwa, worked round the clock to alleviate the effects of the pandemic.

"When Covid-19 attacked us, because we are a nation under sanctions, we did not see the need for Western countries to support us in mitigating the scourge. If we look at the potential of our own motherland, we can do that," he said.

Without much support from the outside world, Zimbabwe weathered the storm by relying solely on the ingenuity of its own citizens.

"When we were in need of medical oxygen for our people to survive the pandemic, we started a medical oxygen plant. I am happy that we produced and managed to overcome the pandemic," explained the President.

"Today we are producing enough oxygen for the country in a week. Also, I'm happy with our young scientists and doctors, who are doing wonders in the oxygen-making process. Zimbabwe is on the rebound, politically stable, investor friendly and working on food security."

With 17 State universities housing innovation hubs, Zimbabwean talent is being incubated and nurtured to rise accordingly to the occasion in the new world characterised by technological advancements.

"The young people are being taught invention skills and industrialisation. And, very soon our import bill will be cut because of their origination skills," said President Mnangagwa.

Source - The Herald