VICTORIA FALLS — African countries, with abundant resources and through economic transformation, can catch up with Asian countries in 50 years, said Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission yesterday. Africa can do the same in the next 50 years as what the Asian economic powerhouses did over the past decades, lifting its people out of poverty and becoming prosperous, said Dlamini-Zuma, addressing the 34th Summit of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government in the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls.
The Sadc region, made up of 15 member states including Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, is home to an array of mineral resources with roughly the world’s vanadium, platinum and diamonds originating from the region, along with an estimated 36 percent of gold and 20 percent of cobalt.
Despite being endowed with vast natural resources, the region remains severely underdeveloped and heavily relies on exportation of raw materials to prop up its economies, observers say. According to the AUC chairperson, to achieve a prosperous, integrated, people-centred Africa, the governments need to transform their economies, and use the continent’s diversed resources through value addition and beneficiation.
“We need to skill hundreds of thousands of our people, focusing more on science, technology , research and innovation, she said.
Dr Dlamini-Zuma also emphasised on the development of high speed projects that could link African capitals and commercial centres. These projects will help accelerate integration, intra- African trade and industrialisation.
The annual summit, Sadc’s highest decision-making body, is being held on August 17 and 18 Zimbabwe. The theme of this year’s summit is “Sadc Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition.” – Xinhua