Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Written by Mutale Kapekele in Livingstone
Tuesday, December 09, 2008 12:18:30 AM
AFRICA needs a good financial architecture to cushion itself from the impact of the global financial crisis, African Union deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha has said.
And Mwencha has disclosed that the AU will this week hold a ministerial meeting to discuss the problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
In an interview in Livingstone, Mwencha said Africa could avoid the impact of the financial crisis affecting most parts of the world by trading within its boundaries.
“If you have noticed, the financial crisis has not affected China too much because that country has identified the locals as the major market for products they produce,” Mwencha said. “Africa needs such a good financial architecture to cushion the impact of the world financial crisis. After all, we have more than 950 million potential customers for our products. By 2020, we will have a population of 1.5 billion which will make this a big potential market.”
He said Africa was currently disadvantaged because most raw materials left the continent without adding value to them.
“We need to add value to our raw products and distribute them within the continent,” Mwencha said. “The biggest threat our business world faces here is imports. If we can have our own finished products, we will avoid those imports and raise much more funds than we would in raw material exports.”
He said economic forces were shifting from the north to the east and that Africa should position herself as the next in line.
“We need to develop our infrastructure as this is cardinal for the continent’s development and it will improve our competitiveness,” Mwencha said. “We also need to review the implementation of a number of programme with a view to fast tracking integration because we are better off united and speaking with the same development voice.”
And Mwencha said the AU will this week hold a ministerial meeting to review the progress on efforts to end conflicts in the DR Congo and the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe.
He said the problems in Zimbabwe were internal and could best be solved by the leaders in that country, but urged the leaders to have the people’s interests at heart.
“We all just pray that the leaders there have the plight of the people in their hearts and hope that the international community will generously contribute humanitarian aid,” said Mwencha.