Africa should change its mindset: President

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Africa should change its mindset: President
 President Mnangagwa addresses delegates at the 59th AfDB Annual Meetings in Nairobi, Kenya yesterday. — Picture: Presidential Photographer Tawanda Mudimu

Fungi Kwaramba in NAIROBI, Kenya

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has called for a mindset shift among African States, from being consumers to producers, at the same time rallying the continent to speak with one voice to challenge the archaic global financial architecture.

In his contributions at the 59th African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings here yesterday, President Mnangagwa said African leaders should move away from the silo mentality and collaborate both internally and at an international scale.

The bane of colonialism and its residual aspects, he said, had also stunted the continent’s growth.

“The problem that faces Africa, we have the history of colonialism. That history has burdened African countries for a long time. For a long time, independent African countries focused on their former colonial masters, now that has been changing.

“Africa, as a continent, has resources to develop, modernise and industralise. It has taken us though, a long time to move focus from former colonial masters and focus internally.”

Giving Zimbabwe as an example, President Mnangagwa said gone were the days when the country used to focus on erstwhile colonial masters, as his Government had been looking inwardly to develop, riding on science and technology, in the process registering milestones in food security, particularly in the production of wheat.

“Since the coming of the Second Republic in Zimbabwe, we have said to develop our country, we need to embrace science and technology because those countries that are developed also focused on science and technology.

“In the past, we had graduates from our universities, who spoke English very well but did not produce any product. Students are now oriented to produce products and services.”

In the same vain, the President said Africa must shift its focus towards science and technology that brings services to the people.

He added that a cross-pollination of ideas, particularly in science and technology, can revolutionise the continent.

“If we all collaborate as a continent, I believe our pace of modernisation and industrialisation will be faster than if we seek to develop in silos. We must begin to have internal connections.”

The President added that the continent’s communication and trade infrastructure must end the disconnections that have inhibited internal connections.

He cited the long-stalled development of the Inga Dam project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has always required collaborative African effort.

President Mnangagwa expressed optimism that the new crop of African leaders seemed better disposed to move beyond national silos for pan-African projects.

He also railed against Africa’s artificial divisions that manifest in Anglophone and Francophone fault lines, and called on the continent to embrace and adopt a local language, such as Swahili.

This year’s 59th AfDB annual meetings were held under the theme, “Africa’s Transformation, the African Development Bank Group, and the Reform of the Global Financial Architecture”.

African leaders unequivocally demanded the reform of the global financial economic infrastructure, that is presently a glaring mismatch between the pittance that the continent gets and its needs, especially in the prism of climate change and its devastating effects.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said “Africa has to look at itself and the world and see that its interests are taken care of”.

“We must speak with one voice, which must be loud. We must represent ourselves, the reforms we are talking about is how we must disrupt the current architecture to include our continent. Africa cannot wait to be handed an opportunity, but we must be fighting at the front to get what we want,” said President Kagame.

On his part, Kenyan President William Ruto said the issue of reform is inescapable.

“The issue of reform is settled, it must be done, we need a financial architecture that has long term, low interest rates, concessions, grants where possible, financing at a large scale, the quantum must be high. Our priority is to sort out the financial architecture. We need to move from potential to investment,” said President Ruto.

African leaders, drawn from across the continent, attended yesterday’s AfDB annual meetings along with leaders of multilateral institutions.

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the continent must continue advocating for reform of the global economic infrastructure, especially the composition of international lending institutions like the World Bank and the International Monitory Fund.

Added to that, he said, Africa should become a full member of the G20.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa returned home last night.