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Reduce reliance on imports

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Wednesday, 03 May 2017

Reduce reliance on imports

Namibian President Hage Geingob over the weekend implored African governments and the private sector to aggressively champion industrialisation in their economies and curb over-reliance on raw commodity exports. Geingob, who was on a three-day state visit to Zimbabwe, spoke at the official opening of the 58th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, where he noted that the challenges facing the African continent and rising youth unemployment could only be addressed by harnessing regional linkages and pursuing a robust regional industrialisation agenda anchored on value addition and beneficiation. He bemoaned low intra-regional trade and reliance on imports from developed economies, which he blamed for the continued use of economic models that serve colonial interests. “Trade between African governments has generally been low,” said President Geingob. “This is so because our trading patterns have been aligned to service the requirements of former colonial powers and partly because many African countries essentially produce similar goods, mainly agricultural and mineral commodities,” he said. “Little or no beneficiation takes place in many of our countries and the bulk of finished products are imported from Europe and Asia. This must change. There is not a single advanced country in the world today that did not go through the industrialisation process. African economies will be no different. To address burning challenges, in particular youth unemployment, we will have to expand our industrial base and manufacturing capabilities,” said President Geingob. He expressed optimism that Zimbabwe’s economy was poised to register robust growth on the back of good rains and the anticipated bumper harvest which lays a solid foundation for growth in other processing sectors and attainment of food security. He said agricultural exhibitions at the ZITF demonstrated that Zimbabwe is the breadbasket of the SADC region. “Zimbabwe as the breadbasket of SADC is poised to reap a bumper harvest this year,” he said.

Source: Newera