Reform financial system to restore hope: President
Fungi Kwaramba in NEW YORK
A JUST, responsive and inclusive global financial system is critical for world nations to tackle both present and future challenges, while the United Nations (UN) should ever be the beacon of hope for the world, President Mnangagwa has said.
Addressing the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) here yesterday, President Mnangagwa called for the reform of global financial institutions that have fallen short in addressing challenges faced by developing countries such as climate change, Covid-19 and conflicts.
“The current global financial architecture has demonstrated its inadequacies to address the challenges that confront us. Increasing and unsustainable debt burden, the prohibitive cost of borrowing, illicit financial flows and exploitation of natural resources from developing countries, have all combined to relegate developing countries to the periphery of the global financial system.
“There is, therefore, a need for a global financial system which is just, more inclusive and responsive to the challenges we face,” said the President.
Inadequacies in the global financing system have been exposed, especially by the Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts and climate change, calamities where developing countries have been left to bear the brunt alone.
President Mnangagwa cited the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which has remained largely exclusive and indifferent to the needs of developing countries, as one institution that requires urgent reform.
In this vein, the President said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to be the panacea for Africa to trade and stimulate economic growth and development.
“The AfCFTA must be complimented as we strive to improve production and trade in goods and services. Liberalisation of services and the strengthening of Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights; as well as the adoption of digital trade should also be enhanced”.
UNGA 77 is being held under the theme, “A watershed moment: Transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”, an apt theme that President Mnangagwa said captures the importance of scaling up actions towards delivering Agenda 2030, a plan of action for people, the planet and prosperity.
Agenda 2030 also seeks to strengthen universal peace, eradicating extreme poverty in all its forms and dimensions, and in Zimbabwe, it has been captured in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) as the pivot towards realising Vision 2030.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is determined to lift its citizens from poverty and outlined to the Assembly measures that the Second Republic is implementing to improve the welfare of the people through development that leaves no one and no place behind in the journey towards Vision 2030, to become an upper-middle-class economy.
“Lifting many more people out of poverty and into a higher quality of life must remain at the core of both UN activities and the programmes and projects of our respective countries. Zimbabwe has made significant strides towards ending poverty and hunger. This has seen the implementation of various policies and programmes to support and empower communal and small-scale farmers.
“At the household level, the provision of agriculture inputs, equipment and technical support to farmers, especially the vulnerable, has contributed to household and national food and nutrition security. However, in 2022, mid-season drought and tropical cyclones regrettably reduced the overall performance of the agriculture sector”.
In light of the effects of climate change, President Mnangagwa has come up with measures to climate-proof agriculture such as Pfumvudza and the construction of dams in every part of the country in development that leaves no one and no place behind.
And despite limited financing for climate change by the developed world, which must be scaled up, the President outlined measures that his Government has come up with to reduce the effects of changing weather patterns that were largely caused by Western countries.
“My Government is implementing an ambitious programme to increase the number of dams for irrigation. The programme is expected to create greenbelts across the country, as we reduce dependence on rain-fed agricultural activities while enhancing export-led production and productivity.
“Our comprehensive Agriculture Transformation Strategy is focused on increasing production and productivity across the agriculture spectrum. This was instrumental in our unprecedented realisation of national wheat self-sufficiency as well as increased exports in horticulture.
“The provision of technical extension services for improved land and water use has seen widespread adoption of climate-smart agricultural innovations, with evident upward increase of incomes among communal and smallholder farmers as well as women and youth in agriculture”.
President Mnangagwa outlined measures that have been implemented by Zimbabwe, such as massive infrastructure development projects which include dams, energy plants and roads that have broadened the national economic asset base as well as production and productivity enablers, while enhancing regional connectivity and integration.
Through devolution and decentralisation, the country has witnessed rapid construction of schools, clinics, water and sanitation infrastructure and other social amenities, in the most remote areas.
“Zimbabwe is modernising and industrialising based on our local resources and human capital base. Inspired by the historic monument, Great Zimbabwe, from which our country’s name is derived, we are building our country brick by brick, stone upon stone, with the support of our friends and partners. As my Government continues to entrench democracy, good governance and the rule of law, we are committed to vibrant, competitive and peaceful political contestations”.
Even though Zimbabwe has registered progress in improving the lives of its people, President Mnangagwa said illegal sanctions imposed by Western countries as punishment for the land reform continue to hamstring growth.
“The ongoing deleterious effects of the illegal sanctions continue to hamper and slow down our progress and the realisation of sustainable and inclusive development.
“Zimbabwe is a peace-loving country. We remain indebted to the SADC region and the African Union, as well as other progressive members in the comity of nations for their unwavering support and calls for the removal of these unwarranted and unjustified sanctions. We once again call for their immediate and unconditional removal. My country welcomes the findings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of the Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, who visited Zimbabwe in 2021”.
At the international level, Zimbabwe has adopted an Engagement and Re-engagement Policy that has seen a new approach where the country has expressed its desire to be a friend to all and an enemy to none.
“This Policy is underpinned by the principles of mutual understanding and respect, cooperation, partnership and shared values with other members of the international community. We desire to be a friend to all and an enemy to none”, President Mnangagwa said.
He added that Zimbabwe is ever committed to the principles of the UN Charter and multilateralism in the resolution of the complex and intersecting challenges facing the world.
“The implementation of the inclusive 2030 Agenda remains our biggest hope for the future we all want. There is indeed a more compelling case for enhanced solidarity, co-operation and partnerships if we are to respond effectively to these challenges and ensure our collective survival.
“The UN should remain the beacon and source of hope for the global citizenry. As leaders, we have a weighty burden and responsibility to make the UN deliver to the expectations of all the peoples of the world,” President Mnangagwa said.
He also called for support from the United Nations for the restoration of peace in Mozambique, while also outlining measures that his administration has taken to improve the lives of women, and youths, and also ensuring universal access to health and education.