Darlington Musarurwa in DURBAN, South Africa
PRESIDENT Mugabe is today expected to address the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa here on the leadership and guidance needed to achieve sustainable economic growth on the continent.
As the keynote speaker during the morning session titled “Eye on Fragile States”, President Mugabe will set the parameters for discussions needed to build consensus on the Africa’s future growth trajectory.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said yesterday that the veteran statesman would also deconstruct the perception that Zimbabwe was a fragile State.
Other speakers who will make interventions during the session include Dr Donald Kaberuka, the immediate past president of the African Development Bank; Forest Whitaker American actor and Unesco special envoy; Victor Ochen; and Anton du Plessis.
The Fragile State Index 2016 published by US think tank Fund for Peace in collaboration with Foreign Policy Magazine ranked Zimbabwe as a fragile State.
The ranking, which has attracted controversy since it started in 2005, ostensibly assesses vulnerability to conflict or collapse.
“It is quite clear His Excellency, the President, has emerged as a leading spokesperson for economic diplomacy,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
“There was a time when diplomatic interaction was largely political, but because of the various interventions by our President at various international fora over a number of years, you will notice that the recently concluded African Economic Platform (March 19 to March 21, 2017), he was the lead speaker at that Summit.
“And also, during this fora, he is the key note speaker. He is in fact going to be the opening speaker to set the parameters of what needs to be done in order to achieve economic development.”
Minister Mumbengegwi noted that President Mugabe’s leadership, especially during his tenure as the chairperson of Sadc and the Africa Union had ably laid the foundation for not only local economic growth, but regional and continental growth as well.
During his tenure, President Mugabe successfully spearheaded the conception and “consummation” of AU’s Agenda 2063 and Sadc’s Industrialisation Strategy.
Agenda 2063 in particular is designed to promote an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
Cde Mumbengegwi said: “Our President played a key role in the decisions which were arrived at related to that agenda.
“At the Africa Union level, we have the Agenda 2063, which was consummated by the Africa Union during his chairmanship, and at the Sadc level, we have got the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, which was, as we all know, his brainchild when he was chair of Sadc, and (it) was actually formulated, developed and adopted in Harare.
“Now, at our own level, we have got Zim-Asset, which is our national economic blueprint, so you can see that it all in a super-structure which has been developed nationally, regionally, continentally as well as globally.”
WEFA 2017, he said, is part of an economic diplomatic thrust to achieve integration in Sadc and Africa. “So, it is for us as Zimbabweans a very important meeting, not only for the contribution His Excellency, the President, has been asked to make, but also for the benefit that we are as a country bound to gain,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
Zimbabwe, under President Mugabe’s Government, has made giant strides in empowering the generality of the population, particularly vulnerable groups that are outside the mainstream economy.
Since the turn of the millennium, Zimbabwe has redistributed 12 million hectares of land – considered by economists as the primary source of production.
Also, over the past 17 years, Zimbabwe has been challenging exploitative neo-liberal economic policies that favour multinational companies and minority groups.