Regional leaders have a responsibility to substantially improve the lives of the people of the region and realize economic development.
Speaking at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) council of ministers meeting, the new SADC Ministers Council Chairperson, Maite Nkoana Mashabane says the time has come for leaders on the continent to stop going around begging for financial aid when the continent is fully endowed with mineral resources.
A direct message to leaders on the continent: use the mineral resources you have for development, economic growth and the creation of job opportunities.
Nkoana Mashabane says the continent should be able to finance its own projects.
“We have one of the world richest continent with the poorest people. This needs to stop.”
Many of SADC’s projects have not yet taken off – some due to lack of finances.
“We are tired of going around with a begging bowl when we have so much from our land to all that which you know.”
Swaziland minister Prince Hlangusemphi says, “Our dependency on international partners to finance projects in the region is not sustainable and has in fact taken a downward trend.”
The journey towards regional integration is critical. And infrastructure remains of utmost importance.
Both ministers agree that establishing a SADC Development Fund is, therefore, a critical alternative source of finance.
“The will is there, but the resources are the one’s which detect the future of everything. So, if the will permits us, probably we can change this course as it is right now,” Hlangusemphi adds.
SADC has praised its working relations with the private sector and other institutionalised investors saying that had enabled it to finance some of its projects.
– By Lehana Tsotetsi