THE rotation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), summits this time has landed to the United Republic of Tanzania taking over from the Republic of Namibia where President Dr Hage Geingob will today officially hand over the chair to Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli as the new host of the 39th SADC Summit of head of states.
The indication and formality of handing over was processed in the previous summit in Windhoek last August where Vice-President, Mama Samia Suluhu Hassan represented President Magufuli and since then preparations in Tanzania have been going on in relevance to the theme of this year’s Summit, “Competitive business Environment for inclusive and sustainable industrial Development.”
The sixteen countries summit that takes two days was preceded by the 4th SADC Industrial Week, where more than 2000 exhibitors took part in that spirit built on the theme of the Summit of the SADC together with its goal of furthering socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 southern African countries.
The idea of hosting SADC industrial week was mooted in the Extra Ordinary Summit of SADC leaders in Harare Zimbabwe and adopted as the Industrialization Roadmap on April 29, 2015.
The incoming Chairman Dr Magufuli opened that Industrial week with strong message to African leaders that trade among the African nations is still low because of unnecessary barriers and failure to make effective use of core competencies. He pointed out that despite the continent’s huge potential and natural resources endowment; available data shows that intra-African trade stands is low and only 20 percent of the continent’s total trade with the rest of the world.
He said “This compares very poorly with Europe, North America and the Association of Southern East Asian Nations where intra trade is estimated at 60, 40 and 30 percent respectively.”
Actually this is what is supposed to be dramatized in our local press as the host of this 39th SADC Summit in Tanzania to our honourable guests rather than eulogizing the historical past of the SADC.
Perhaps it could be meaningful to our press to highlight the transformation of our countries from that former frontline unity to an economic development organization as it is now with the SADC. Member countries particularly our citizens are keen to hear from the SADC on our total inclusivity to the building of sustainable industrial development in our countries.
Mwalimu Nyerere as the Head of the Frontline countries on August 15, 1994 at Arusha while disbanding the Coordination Committee for the Liberation of Africa told a handful of African leaders that included the then Presidents; Robert Mugabe, Joachim Chisano and Sam Nujoma that “I am of the past. In my generation we did some things and we failed to do others.
One of those things we failed to do was working for unity.” He urged the new generation of African leaders to correct those failures by establishing unity committees of OAU and give them full backing in action.
He said “match the talk of unity with action for unity. Plan and work for it with the same relentless determination as the liberation vanguard worked for the liberation of our continent from the alien and racist oppression.” Mwalimu Nyerere appeared as if he was making a final will to them.
Again on his 75th birthday speech in 1997, Nyerere stressed that “North Africa is part of Europe and the Middle East. Africa south of the Sahara is on its own. The coming African leadership will have to bear that in mind. You are on your own,” he advised, “The small countries in Africa [south of the Sahara] must. . .come together.
If we can’t move towards bigger nation-states, at least let’s move towards greater cooperation.” Nyerere gave a wise elder’s parting advice to Black Africa to be self-reliant and go it alone; to not rely on the Arabs or the Europeans or the Americans or the Japanese or the Indians or on any other people whatsoever, as none of them have it in their self-interest to help develop Black Africa.
Mwalimu said it again when he was addressing the Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa in 1998 while talking on economic osmosis between South Africa and African countries South of Sahara. He implied that North Africa is to Europe what Mexico is to the United States
. North Africans who have no jobs will not go to Nigeria; they’ll be thinking of Europe or the Middle East, because of the imperatives of geography and history and religion and language. North Africa is part of Europe and the Middle East.” Mwalimu’s reasoning was purely on geo-political and based on the likely realities of the 21st century.
It has nothing to do with whether Arabs love or hate blacks; nothing to do with past historical relations between Arabs and Black Africans.
Nyerere knew about the Arab help better than anybody else since he coordinated that help in his position as Chairman of the OAU Liberation Committee.
That is what is happening now; the North African Arabs are dying en mass in the Mediterranean Sea trying seeking to refugee status in Europe; however SADC organisation should strive to serve its over 300 million populations through sustainable industrial Development in the region. Indeed economic osmosis among the SADC countries is the way forward.