President Robert Mugabe has called for concrete action addressing business delegations from Zimbabwe and South Africa in Pretoria today.
Mugabe (91) said his country was open for investment and joint ventures between South Africans and Zimbabweans but dismissed blacks who are used as fronts for white capital.
“We must go beyond motions and gestures but implement action that will benefit and empower our people. We must take advantage of the action made by the two countries’ respective leaders,” said Mugabe.
“We cannot remain exporters of primary commodities and expect to grow our economies.”
Mugabe encouraged mutual beneficial trade between the two countries saying it (trade) was a powerful tool for regional integration and economic development.
“Zimbabwe is a genuine and sincere partner and we look forward to partnering with you in our economic development,” said Mugabe
“The trade imbalance is neither sustainable nor desirable for either of our countries.”
Mugabe also urged the diaspora community to proactively contribute towards economic development both in South Africa and in Zimbabwe.
“I hope the Zimbabwe diaspora business community in South Africa is doing business honestly and not disgracing us,” he added.
Turning to his usual political rhetoric of black empowerment, Mugabe said most African countries had failed to empower their populace as the economic structure remained skewed and in favour of colonists and whites.
“Reconciliation didn’t mean we were not supposed to equip our people but unfortunately that remains the case in most countries of our region.”
(READ MORE: Mugabe calls for ‘togetherness’ during state visit)
“All that lies underneath in Gabon belongs to the French, the people of Gabon do not have anything extracted from their country,” said Mugabe illustrating how some African countries remain stripped of their resources.
Mugabe said political independence without economic independence had been the story throughout Africa adding that the future generation would blame predecessors for failing to empower citizens.
“The next generations will ask us if we gave them the correct basis as they move into the future.”