Kudzanai Sharara in DAVOS, Switzerland
DAVOS – The African continent’s priority today is to secure food security since its regions have enough fertile land to feed its people, President Mnangagwa has said.
Speaking today at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a discussion on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) running under the theme “Friends of the African Continental Free Trade Area”, which he was co-chairing, President Mnangagwa said to secure food for the continent, Africa has to adopt the “eat what you kill” philosophy as well as not to “reinvent the wheel.”
This philosophy, according to President Mnangagwa, will work if there is cooperation from those who have developed, industrialised and mechanised agriculture and have access to technology.
He added that Africa also has to put in place mitigatory measures against climate change, a key focus area at AfCFTA.
His comments come as the world is currently facing serious food shortages, brought by changing climate change and the supply chain disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The later has sent global food prices skyrocketing. Last week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned of “the specter of a global food shortage in the coming months” if there is no urgent international action.
And speaking here in at the WEF, International Monetary Fund managing director, Kristalina Georgieva said “the anxiety about access to food at a reasonable price globally is hitting the roof” as food prices continue to go up.
According to U.N. figures, the number of severely food-insecure people has doubled in the past two years, from 135 million pre-pandemic to 276 million today.
Africa can, however, secure food security if there is cooperation among nations.
President Mangagwa also spoke about the extractive mineral sector that he said was in critical need of beneficiation and value addition.
However, he said beneficiation and value addition would require assistants from others.
“There are two possibilities, we do it at our own pace, then pace is very slow, or we do it at a pace where you are assisted, then the pace is very fast.”
While Zimbabwe is mining some of its mineral resources through mine houses like Kuvimba Mining House and Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC, it has also opened up the sector to foreign investors who, like President Mnangagwa said, have the capacity to quicken the pace of resource extraction.
Contributing to the discussion, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, focused on the pace at which AfCFTA is being implemented which he said is “very slow”.
“There is still slowness but we could move faster, for me that’s the most important thing.’
“We need to make it a full reality which it isn’t yet. We need to tackle a number of things especially non-tariff barriers,” President Kagame said.