Mugabe takes helm of African trading bloc
[Mail and Globe] Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday urged African countries to end conflicts and increase self-reliance to boost development on the world's poorest continent. Opening a two-day summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Mugabe said member states must put money into the group's fund to help cut dependence on foreign assistance.
"Let us contribute our own resources to the fund which can enable us to finance infrastructural development without any strings attached," he said.
Seven heads of state and government are at the summit.
Mugabe, who took over the helm of Africa's largest trading bloc in Africa, said the continent must raise its industrial capacity by exploiting its mineral resources, rich soils and human skills.
Without mentioning any country by name, Mugabe also said Africa had to confront conflicts to realise its potential.
|And there isn't anyone in Africa who knows more about exploitation than Bob Mugabe ...|
"Conflict is a serious cancer in our region," he said, adding it was adversely affecting Africa's economic development. "Let us make Africa a continent of opportunity for all its people by eliminating conflict," he added.
The summit, in the resort town of Victoria Falls, will launch a customs union for its 19 member states stretching from Swaziland in the south to Egypt in the north, under which the member states will impose the same tariffs on goods from outside the region.
Posted by: Fred 2009-06-08