SADC must lead the way towards African emancipation

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Zimbabwe, together with its neighbours Botswana and South Africa, has over the past few weeks shown that it is only African solutions that can emancipate Africans from their economic challenges.
The past few weeks have seen first Botswana and then South Africa coming to the aid of their neighbour, Zimbabwe, which has been reeling under Western-backed sanctions over the past two decades.
Calls for the lifting of those sanctions, imposed after Harare embarked on the land reform programme to correct historical imbalances in the ownership of land, have yielded no action from the Western powers led by Britain, its allies in the European Union, and the United States of America.
Now Zimbabwe’s neighbours have realised that the time for rhetoric is over and that the only way is to come up with practical solutions to help a fellow African country in need. This is after the realisation that there will not be any economic prosperity in their own backyards if a neighbour is in distress.
This is indeed commendable and despite detractors trying to put a wedge between and among African countries, as a way of dissuading them from working together, we believe all efforts must continue to be made to find African solutions to African problems.
As we have pointed out before, African countries are endowed with vast natural resources which they have not been benefitting from, thanks to colonial exploitation and the divide-and-rule tactics of the former colonisers.
We believe what Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe are doing tallies in with SADC’s rallying call and motto, which is “Towards a common future”.
This means member states share a common goal and a common vision to transform the region and the lives of their peoples.  
Thus, member states are expected to work together in projects and programmes that ensure that this common vision is achieved.  This means countries must collaborate on identified projects that are aimed at transforming the region’s economies.
We believe there is more that unites the region than that divides it and that the 16-member regional bloc needs to pull together towards a common vision.
That is why the region has come up with a common policy on industrialisation, beneficiation of minerals and other resources, and integration.  For instance, Botswana is endowed with diamonds, which has seen its economy grow in leaps and bounds over the years.  There is no reason why it cannot impart knowledge of diamond beneficiation to neighbours like Zimbabwe, which recently discovered the resource but has not been getting value for this mineral.
Similarly, Zimbabwe and South Africa possess more than three-quarters of the world’s platinum resources under their soils.  There is again no reason why the two countries cannot share experiences and expertise so that they get value for their minerals.
The situation obtains elsewhere across the regional bloc, where the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia produce a very big chunk of the world’s copper, Namibia produces a sizeable quantity of the world’s uranium, Angola has abundant oil reserves and Mozambique recently discovered natural gas.  We believe SADC member states have what it takes to drive poverty out of the region and the continent.   
There is, therefore, no reason why SADC countries should not work together on identified projects. The guiding principle of a common vision must lead member states in whatever projects they pursue. The rallying call must be a unity of purpose. United we stand and divided we fall.

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