AFRICANGLOBE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday urged southern Africa to reduce its dependence on foreign aid and to make better use of its natural resources such as minerals and land.
President Mugabe was speaking at the opening of a two-day summit of the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls tourist resort.
“Our continued over-reliance on the goodwill of our co-operation partners compromises our ownership of SADC,” he told the meeting.
“Our region has abundant resources which instead of being sold in raw form at very low prices must be exploited … to add value to the products which we export,” he said.
President Mugabe has taken over as Sadc chairperson and immediately implored the region to fund its activities if the regional bloc is to own them.
Outgoing chairperson and Malawian President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika in his speech called on Sadc countries to support Zimbabwe during its tenure of steering the region in regional integration until August next year.
President Mugabe said while the chairmanship was directly given to him as Head of State and Govenment, he dedicated the honour to the whole of Zimbabwe.
“As Zimbabwe, we look forward to making our contribution to the Sadc agenda and we confident that together we can ensure that the region focuses on interventions that have the greatest impact on the well-being of our citizens,” said the Sadc chairperson.
He said Sadc countries would continue to pursue peace and tranquility in the region. He also called on the region to honour founding fathers of the region who sacrificed a lot to ensure the continent was free.
President Mugabe also launched the the Sadc Statistical Yearbook 2012 and the Hashim Mbita project publication.
He also awarded Mumhumutapa order of Merit to Rtd Brigadier Mbita for the role he played during his tenure as executive secretary of the Liberation Committee of the Organisation of African Unity.
By: Lloyd Gumbo
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