ED challenges Africa to manufacture, intra-trade more

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Nairobi (New Ziana) – African countries must, in concert, increase use of modern technologies to be able to manufacture more goods on the continent and reduce dependence on foreign imports, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

Zimbabwe is championing the industrialisation agenda for Africa, anchored on processing and value adding to the continent’s abundant, and diverse natural resources to reverse the current trend where it exports raw materials cheaply to developed countries, only to import finished goods made from these at high costs.

Apart from increasing value of the resources through processing, local manufacturing on the continent would also create employment.

President Mnangagwa said this entailed greater co-operation among African countries for the goal, which forms part of the continent’s Agenda 2063, to be achieved.

“Our common aspirations to modernise and industrialise our economies must equally see us scale up cooperation in the science, technologies and innovations spheres for the increased production of made in Africa goods and services riding on our highly innovative and entrepreneurial young people,” he said in Kenya.

“The strong similarities we (Zimbabwe and Kenya) share in agriculture, tourism and wildlife management and manufacturing sectors among others, present opportunities which must be explored for the benefit of our economies and people.”

One area where Africa’s lack of industrial manufacturing capacity is glaringly disadvantageous is oil refining.

While some African countries such as Angola and Nigeria are big producers of the commodity, they scarcely process it into the final product, and as a result, the majority of countries on the continent import fuel from outside Africa.

The dangers of reliance on sources outside the continent for a vital product like fuel has been exposed by the Russia-Ukraine war, which has disrupted supply lines and pushed up prices beyond the affordability levels of most African countries.

Consenting to President Mnangagwa’s sentiments, President Uhuru Kenyatta said collaboration among African countries was crucial.

“We must be bound by the hip, we must stand and struggle together and we must be led by the realisation that until all are free, non can be free and we must stand with the knowledge that until we have achieved prosperity for our continent, non can individually seek it and hence the need for us to consistently and continuously work together,” he said.

President Mnangagwa, who was on a three-day state visit to Kenya, also updated his Kenyan counterpart on key developments taking place in Zimbabwe.

These, he said, included unprecedented infrastructure construction projects which were being pursued using locally mobilised resources.

“In the case of Zimbabwe, our economy is on a recovery and growth trajectory anchored on multi-pronged strategies including the climate proofing of our agriculture through various initiatives such as the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, dam construction, and irrigation development among others.

“A vibrant and expanding mining sector has yielded positive results while accelerated infrastructure development has seen unprecedented construction of roads in Zimbabwe, dams, and other infrastructure through the use of our own local human and financial resources,” he said.

“The lion eats what it kills, (it is) the same philosophy we have in Zimbabwe, we eat what we kill, we survive on what we kill. We grow our economy on the basis of domestic resources, we modernise our economy, industrialise our economy on the basis of availability of resources in our country, by mobilising skills and so on locally.”

He said his government was steadfastly committed to entrenching democracy, constitutionalism, good governance, unity, and peace in Zimbabwe, guided by the constitution and national interests.
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