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Telling the other story – MEDIA CENTRE

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SADC member states adopt the regional industrialization strategy.

Nyasha N Mukapiko

If we continue as exporters of raw materials, we are sure to remain trapped in the jaws of underdevelopment, while those who add value on our behalf flourish at our expense. These words were spoken by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson President Robert Mugabe during the SADC extraordinary summit yesterday.

The SADC summit which was running under the theme,” Regional Strategy and Roadmap for Industrialization was attended m by the SADC members’ heads of states while those who did manage to make it sent in their representatives at ministerial level.

The long term regional integration which is going to focus on value addition and benefaction will be spread over nearly half a century (48 years) as the time limit to achieve the goal.

Giving his opening remarks President Mugabe, also chairperson of the regional block said the region was endowed with abundant and diverse natural resources with chrome contributing 41% to the world production, diamonds 55% and platinum 76% while other minerals were contributing from 26% and below.

“But alas, despite the rich and diverse endowments of our region, about 70% of our people continue to live below the poverty datum line. By exporting our resources in raw form, we are not only earning marginal benefits from them but are ,in essence, compromising our efforts to create jobs as well as exposing our economies to the vagaries of the fluctuations of the global resources markets”, President Mugabe said.

President Mugabe added that the exporting of unprocessed products was not only under mining but the agricultural sector was doing the same with crops such as tobacco, cotton thereby reducing the earnings to only 10%.

The SADC Chairperson further highlighted that the volume of intra-SADC trade was still very low with statics of import figures standing at 45% inclusive of the Asia Pacific region in comparative with European Union (EU) standing at 27%.

Zimbabwe’s import bill stands at $8 billion against its export bill of $3billion, this was revealed last Tuesday by former Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada from the MDC-T during a media centre round table discussion.

The Zimbabwean President said there was need to recognise what industrialization will do as a vehicle to fight against poverty hence encouraging the region to work out effective financial mechanism to fund the regional strategy.

“We cannot expect those who benefit from our status as exporters of raw materials, to fund our efforts to wean ourselves from these unequal relationships , just as we were our own liberators from the colonial bondage and oppression, we have to find the resources to free ourselves from economic bondage”, president Mugabe added.

Meanwhile the SADC member states approved the industrialization strategy and roadmap and reaffirmed the importance of industrial development in poverty alleviation and economic emancipation to people of the region.

The strategy will be anchored on three pillars which include industrialization, competitiveness and regional integration.

The Zimbabwean President concluded by expressing gratitude to the SADC Executive Secretary, Madam Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax and the ministerial council for their energy in drafting the strategy and roadmap towards a free trade area industrialization in the region.


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Chief Editor: Earnest Mudzengi Content Editor: Willie Gwatimba