Pamela Shumba recently in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
PRESIDENT Mugabe returned home yesterday after attending the 18th Comesa Summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The meeting of the 19-member bloc, which was held under the theme “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation” ended yesterday with members committing themselves to work towards poverty eradication.
Poverty is one of the biggest challenges facing the continent.
President Mugabe was welcomed at the Harare International Airport by his two Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, , Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Economic Planning Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Miriam Chikukwa, service chiefs and several senior Government officials.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha, who also attended the summit, said the Zim-Asset and industrialisation policies were discussed at the summit.
“Over the years we’ve been talking about Sadc, African Union and Comesa, but despite all these organisations that bring African countries together, there’s little trade in Africa. Only 10 percent of Africa’s trade is conducted through Comesa,” Minister Bimha said in an interview.
“We reached a consensus that industrialisation was the way forward for Africa to transform economically and I’m glad that the industrialisation policies agreed upon are in tandem with what we have already put in place back home. It makes it easier for us to work with Comesa.”
The biggest challenge that the country had, Minister Bimha said, was lack of production in Africa.
“We’re producing the same products and competing for the same markets.
This calls for diversification. We have to be innovative and the thrust of our industrialisation policy should be accompanied by sound strategies.
“The continent could make use of our funding organisations such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), which has pledged to support us financially,” said Minister Bimha.