News / Economy

Mugabe: Southern Africa Must Reduce Reliance on Foreign Aid

FILE - Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, attends the burial of Major General Bandama who died after a short illness at the National Heroes acre in Harare, July, 17, 2014.
FILE - Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, attends the burial of Major General Bandama who died after a short illness at the National Heroes acre in Harare, July, 17, 2014.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Sunday urged southern Africa to move away from “over-reliance” on foreign aid at a two-day summit being held in Zimbabwe.

The 90-year-old leader spoke Sunday after taking the chairmanship of the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Mugabe, who will lead SADC for the next 12 months, said southern Africa must use its natural resources such as minerals and land. The region has the world’s largest platinum deposits and supplies of other valuable commodities such as diamonds and gold.

"Our continued over-reliance on the generosity and goodwill of our cooperating partners tends to compromise our ownership and sustainability of our SADC programs. How can we proudly claim SADC to be own organization when close to 60 percent of the programs are externally funded?" he asked.

Finished vs raw goods

Mugabe also called on countries to drive growth by exporting more finished goods instead of raw materials.

Southern Africa must "wean itself from exporting raw materials and create value chains that will lead to the exportation of finished products," he said.

"Our region has abundant resources, which instead of being sold in raw form at very low prices must be exploited and beneficiated to add value to the products which we export," Mugabe said.

The summit, which ends Monday, is being held under a theme of "economic transformation," which leaders say can be achieved by using the region's vast natural resources.

On Friday, rights groups called on SADC leaders to include issues of human rights abuses in the region on their meeting’s agenda.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, but a series of economic crises, flawed elections and brutal crackdowns have brought U.N. sanctions and turned the former revolutionary into a Western pariah.

He was the only leader from southern Africa not invited to attend a major U.S.-African summit in Washington earlier this month, which included about  45 of the continent's heads of state.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: yataro from: Japan
August 19, 2014 11:10 AM
I'm curious to know that why it is difficult for them to export finished goods. If they know it, they should focus on it. It is important what is the barrier.

by: Sipepu
August 19, 2014 7:44 AM
Ironically Africa has not been blessed with good leaders where humanitarian rights became non existant - Rwanda being one of many tragic examples, where 800,000 people lost their lives. The list can go on not forgetting Idi Amin of Uganda. History will be the judge of Africa along with the Hague for those who have committed humanitarian crimes.......hopefully

by: Osman from: Somalia
August 19, 2014 2:08 AM
i think president Mugabe is right, he is the only leader in Africa that can understand the reality on the ground. Western world does like Robert Mugabe because he knows conspiracy of western world. we as Africans need more leaders like him, its true he was not invited to US-African summit because Mugabe will never ever accept new colony

by: Ron
August 18, 2014 1:51 PM
It's easy to say the obvious. Foreigners are often called in to rescue government projects after every last cent has been stolen, there is no accountability in Southern Africa.

by: anonymous
August 18, 2014 11:28 AM
Brutal Crackdowns ? (Economical with the truth) Please tell the truth like it really is, just for a change Gukhurahundi in Zimbabwe claimed 20,000 lives for which nobody has ever been held accountable?

by: silverfox from: greensboro
August 18, 2014 8:22 AM

by: Costco
August 18, 2014 4:24 AM
A better idea would be to stop stealing and retire to an old persons home

August 18, 2014 1:33 AM
I do agree with you president Robert's our duty to fight and eradicate neo-colonialism from Africa.
In Response

by: John
August 26, 2014 6:00 AM
I certainly agree that we should fight colonialism from Africa. The Africans have wrecked their own countries, and now wish to colonise us, as they did in the days when they sold their surplus people to credulous white merchants. They should stay in Africa and support themselves by their own work.

by: Robert from: Panama
August 17, 2014 11:37 PM
Mugabe destroyed the economy of his own country so why should anyone take his advice? In addition his party is guilty of using violence against the opposition and his election results are questionable. In my opinion Mugabe is a criminal since he has used brutality to stay in power.

by: Arnold from: Brasilia
August 17, 2014 6:13 PM
Dependence has stagnated economic freedom and flexing of the intellegencia! The President of Malawi is NOT Joyce Banda any more.
In Response

by: thomas from: US
August 18, 2014 3:12 AM
He says this after he has gotten rich and lived the good life. Tell him to return the money that he has pocketed over the years. He is 90 years of age with old ideas. How can the country move forward. Ask him what has he done for his people or what his wife has done. He doesn't want foreign investment anymore because there are now more accountability along with checks and balances in place to see what the govt is/has done with the money it should be pouring into the country and its people.
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