Cape Town(New Ziana)-Regional integration is the only way member states of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region can develop in tandem, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.
Speaking during a World Economic Forum (WEF) panel discussion focusing on ‘Delivering the Promise of Megaprojects’ here, the President said though the sizes of economies differed from one country to the next, integration was necessary.
“All the member states for SADC have different histories. The sizes of our economies are different, but it is necessary to integrate and talk to each other” he said.
He said cooperation and integration would assist even landlocked states to access the sea in order to move their goods.
“We must not then bury our heads in the sand and say we are landlocked. We should say initially we believe we must say we are land-linked.
“We must develop systems to take us to the sea. But down the line as we cooperate, with countries which share the seas like Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, we become also sea- linked because we have now developed infrastructure which can look after our goods and services, in and out,” he said.
The economic forum is aimed at boosting intra- African trade.
Responding to a question on how countries could cooperate economically against a backdrop of xenophobic attacks which have threatened to cast a dark cloud over the economic forum, President Mnangagwa said the solution was to tackle citizens’ lack of hope and lack of social mobility.
“We have to offer them a way of moving forward; give them programmes in society that lift their hopes”.
“It’s an issue of accepting each other. And that comes down to how current governments relate to people. We must preach unity, we must preach love; that we are one people, that we are brothers and sisters, not only in one single country, but in the region,” he said.
The President added: “We must talk about integration; so that the mentality of this is mine and it ends there must be removed. We must move away from the past concept of communities being separate”.
South Africa has been hit by yet another outbreak of xenophobic violence mainly in its biggest city, Johannesburg attracting criticism from across Africa.
The attacks, directed at foreign African immigrants, has so far led to the death of five people and massive destruction of property and looting of shops.
The spate of violence that broke out in suburbs south of Johannesburg’s city centre on Sunday and spread to the central business district on Monday saw the destruction of mainly foreign-owned shops and business premises, cars and properties.
Both Sadc and the African Union have condemned the violence.
South African police say nearly 300 people have been arrested in relation to the violence.