Updated: Zim to succeed with Africa’s support – President Mnangagwa
Entebbe (New Ziana)- Zimbabwe is determined, and confident to overcome economic challenges it is facing because it has the support of Africa, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said here on Tuesday.
Speaking after talks with his host President Yoweri Museveni, President Mnangagwa said the diplomatic support that Zimbabwe was receiving from fellow African countries inspired it to tackle the challenges, most of which were a direct result of sanctions imposed on the country by the West to force the government to reverse its land reform policy.
Under the land reforms, the government took over excess farmland from white farmers to resettle landless blacks to economically empower them, a policy the West – led by Britain and the United States – vehemently opposed.
Zimbabwe’s refusal to back down prompted the West to impose sanctions, including trade restrictions and withdrawal of financial support, on the country two decades ago which have badly affected its economy.
“With the diplomatic support we are receiving from our senior leaders, we shall succeed,” President Mnangagwa, who is a special guest at Uganda’s 57th independence anniversary on Wednesday, said.
He said Zimbabwe was pushing on to develop its economy despite not receiving loans and lines of credit from multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for the past 20 years.
The country, he said, has been relying on its own resources to fund development programs over the past two decades.
“So the challenges that we are facing are not imaginary but real” President Mnangagwa said.
He said the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) should propel Africa to become an economic giant in the world as it offers opportunities for creating employment for youths, allowing free trade among countries and offering vast markets for citizens.
He said through the AfCTA, African countries had an opportunity to shed the influence of former colonial powers and develop independent relations with each other.
“I do not see, if we are committed and focused, how Africa can fail to be recognised, to play its role and stand up with its head up as an economic giant,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the current crop of African leaders had a duty to develop their countries and improve the standards of living of their citizens.
He said African countries should increasingly re-focus trade among themselves, to modernise their industries and improve all aspects of their lives on their own.
“Our task now is to co-operate, mordernise and industrialise our respective countries,” he said.
“And to do so, we have to share resources and knowledge between ourselves.”
Speaking at the same occasion, President Museveni said Africa was grateful to China for providing it loans to build infrastructure required to develop its economies.
He said China had provided African countries critical funding for infrastructure development where Western countries had denied it.
He was responding to a question whether African leaders were not mortgaging their countries through excessive borrowing.
“The Chinese have given us loans in areas where others were not prepared to do so,” he said.
He said challenges that African countries faced in their quest for economic transformation included transport costs, electricity, labour and interest rates, which the Chinese had provided funding for.