Thursday, December 13, 2007

(HERALD) Summit should have been on fair trade

Summit should have been on fair trade

EDITOR — I am at a loss trying to understand what the EU-Africa Summit was supposed to achieve besides coming up with the well-orchestrated declarations which have no substance but constitute a mere wish list. The objective of the EU-Africa Summit should have been how to develop Africa and stop Africans going to look for greener pastures in Europe. This can be achieved by ensuring that skilled Africans are employed in their own countries instead of being accepted with welcoming arms in Europe.

There are more African doctors, nurses and engineers in Europe than there are in Africa. European countries have set up agencies in African countries to actively recruit these professionals and yet they want us to believe that these recruits are refugees "fleeing bad governance and human rights abuses". France and other EU countries have set up a fund to send such migrants back to Africa because of the problems they are encountering from unemployed migrant youths born in Europe.

Some from West Africa are drowning trying to cross the high seas to Europe in rickety boats. Migrants from Zimbabwe actually afford to fly to Europe in comfort.

The real focus for any dialogue between Africa and Europe should be on fair trade and investment in manufacturing of goods from primary products produced in Africa. Europe must not see Africa as a threat in global trade. European companies are happy to set up manufacturing plants in Asia but not in Africa.

Africa cannot be just the supplier of labour and primary products to Europe. It should be treated in the same way Asian countries are being treated, if not better, in order to achieve equitable distribution of trade and development.

Albert Nhamoyebonde.




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