HomeOpinion & AnalysisLettersAfrica has potential to grow, it just needs committed leaders

Africa has potential to grow, it just needs committed leaders

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THE Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) on Wednesday joined the continent in celebrating Africa Day, which commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union (AU), which was founded on May 25, 1963.

The theme for this year was Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent, which sought to harness political support in the eradication of malnutrition amongst children on the African continent.

Whilst the African continent has a significant amount of arable land, at 874 million hectares, well north of 65% of this is of poor soil fertility and requires integrated land and water management practices in order to ensure that the over 70 million small holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa do not face decline in productivity, leading to greater food insecurity.

While the foregoing statistics make grim reading, the enactment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) was designed to address some of these challenges and increase intra continental trade, whilst eliminating tariffs and other barriers.

At present, Africa trades more with continents such as Europe and Asia more than it does among its fellow 54 nations.

It is indeed a tragedy that in order for one to travel to countries such as Senegal from southern Africa, there are no direct flights, and one is likely to have to endure two stopovers.

It is of critical importance for the AU to interrogate how best to eliminate these non-tariff barriers that hinder the greater socio-economic integration goal of the continent that the founding fathers had in 1963.

To us as Viset, we look to AfCTFA to ease the long-practiced profession of cross-border trading as tariffs are removed and customs protocols synchronised so as to eliminate the abuse and exploitation of female informal traders who make up over 70% on the continent.

Our organisation has made inroads in establishing chapters not only in southern Africa, but has already collaborative partnerships in Uganda and Sudan with a view to collectively advocate for improved working conditions and recognition for informal economy actors at continental level.

We implore our leaders to double their efforts in ensuring the eradication of hunger and malnutrition through collaborative partnerships and improved trade.-Viset


Corruption, misappropriation of resources taking Africa backwards

ON Wednesday, ZimRights joined the nation and the African continent in commemorating Africa Day.

The day, commemorated every May 25, seeks to acknowledge successes and to encourage the progress that Africa has made under a specific theme while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment.

This year, the day was being commemorated under the theme Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: Strengthening Agro-Food Systems, Health and Social Protection Systems for the Acceleration of Human, Social and Economic Capital Development.

It is against this background that ZimRights reflects on the dire food situation on the African continent and specifically in Zimbabwe.

The day comes when close to eight million Zimbabweans are under the threat of starvation due to a number of reasons.

ZimRights identifies erratic weather patterns, imprudent management of the economy, hyperinflation, poor agricultural productivity, a shortage of foreign currency and high levels of unemployment as the major hindrances to food security in Zimbabwe.

While ZimRights acknowledges role of natural phenomenon like erratic weather patterns, it is concerned with the imprudent management of the country’s economic affairs to the food insecurities.

Corruption and misappropriation of resources has taken centre stage. One area where this manifests is in the partisan distribution of food aid.

Because of the perennial food challenges, Zimbabwe has come to heavily depend on food aid, mainly from government and humanitarian organisations.

However, the distributions from government have largely been used to further political interests by elite members of the ruling Zanu PF party and the cases are well documented.

This has plunged those Zimbabweans deemed to be opposition supporters into further food insecurity.

This is a threat to the right to food, as enshrined in section 77 of the Constitution and flies in the face of this year’s Africa Day theme.

ZimRights would like to remind government of the words of special rapporteur on food security in 2019, Hilal Elve that: “The right to food is an inclusive right and should be understood holistically to encompass other related rights, including the rights to health, housing, social security, water and sanitation, a healthy environment, access to decent work and land, as well as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, all of which are based on the principle of non-discrimination.”

Therefore, government should:

lEnforce the non-politicisation and non-discriminatory nature of food aid distribution.

lAdhere to the institutional framework for vulnerable and food insecure communities to access food aid assistance.

lMake sure the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission deals decisively with those who have abused resources under the Presidential Farming Inputs, Pfumvudza and Command Agriculture schemes

lEnsure the economic environment is conducive for people to have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.-ZimRights


Pomona waste management deal stinks to high heavens
 THE City of Harare entered into an agreement with Geogenix BV, which aims to turn waste to energy by generating 22 megawatts of electricity to be sold to Zimbabwe Power Company.

The investment was given “national project status” and will be headed by the company’s Zimbabwean representative, Delish Nguwaya, infamous for his Drax International’s inflated US$60 million COVID-19 personal protective equipment deal. He has a very close relationship with the First Family and has been sucked into other corrupt dealings.

The deal with Geogenix BV was reached without public consultation and without going through the correct tender processes. It has not been subjected to any oversight by Parliament.

Processes to solidify the deal were expedited with undue and unaccountable pressure on council officials by the Executive.

Numerous clauses in the Pomona waste management deal are highly prejudicial to Harare City Council (HCC), residents of Harare and the nation at large.

According to the agreement, HCC is scheduled to pay US$40 per tonne of waste, with an estimated daily delivery of 550 tonnes.

Should Harare fail to meet the minimum quantities, the city will still be invoiced as though it made the deliveries to meet the minimum annual guaranteed waste quantity.

Should Harare fail to hand over the Pomona dumpsite by the due date, according to the agreement, Geogenix BV may choose to terminate the agreement and the Council would be required to pay US$3,5 million to cover all costs and expenses.

The contract creates considerable financial obligations for Harare City Council to pay Geogenix in United States dollars for a period of 30 years.

This is ironic as Harare waste collection costs are in the local currency in a context with huge disparity and inconsistency in the exchange rates of the local currency and the United States dollar.

In an application before the High Court, Harare North MP Allan Markham asserts that: “Harare City Council does not have capacity to meet this obligation without falling deep into an intractable debt trap or resorting to other developmental funds. The cost of the project is unsustainable.”

Harare City Council is likely to default on its contractual obligations as it is already failing to collect refuse.

In an attempt to achieve an upper-middle income economy status by 2030, government identified devolution as a key pillar.

Under devolution, citizens are involved in setting the development agenda in their communities. Decentralisation can empower and enable the citizens especially poor and marginalised groups, permitting greater choice and control over their rights.

Enabling legislation to operationalise the Constitutional provision for devolution to take place in Zimbabwe is long overdue. Numerous deals and unaccountable financial arrangements involving council lands, assets and service have proliferated in the absence of functional devolution. These have been collectively harmful to the present and future prospects of many councils, especially the highly compromised Harare City Council.

There must be a move to devolve power and allow citizens to make choices that are in their best interests. To this end, it must be stressed that Parliament, as representatives of the citizens, must be able to exercise their oversight role in all issues concerning public finance management.

Through its issuance of the contract with Geogenix BV, government continues to disregard prudent public finance management and sound public procurement processes with impunity.

For the sake of constitutional and developmental progress the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry must facilitate rather than undermine devolved efforts by councils to safeguard public resources and to deploy them in the public’s informed best interests.

Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development

THE City of Harare entered into an agreement with Geogenix BV, which aims to turn waste to energy by generating 22 megawatts of electricity to be sold to Zimbabwe Power Company.

The investment was given “national project status” and will be headed by the company’s Zimbabwean representative, Delish Nguwaya, infamous for his Drax International’s inflated US$60 million COVID-19 personal protective equipment deal. He has a very close relationship with the First Family and has been sucked into other corrupt dealings.

The deal with Geogenix BV was reached without public consultation and without going through the correct tender processes. It has not been subjected to any oversight by Parliament.

Processes to solidify the deal were expedited with undue and unaccountable pressure on council officials by the Executive.

Numerous clauses in the Pomona waste management deal are highly prejudicial to Harare City Council (HCC), residents of Harare and the nation at large.

According to the agreement, HCC is scheduled to pay US$40 per tonne of waste, with an estimated daily delivery of 550 tonnes.

Should Harare fail to meet the minimum quantities, the city will still be invoiced as though it made the deliveries to meet the minimum annual guaranteed waste quantity.

Should Harare fail to hand over the Pomona dumpsite by the due date, according to the agreement, Geogenix BV may choose to terminate the agreement and the Council would be required to pay US$3,5 million to cover all costs and expenses.

The contract creates considerable financial obligations for Harare City Council to pay Geogenix in United States dollars for a period of 30 years.

This is ironic as Harare waste collection costs are in the local currency in a context with huge disparity and inconsistency in the exchange rates of the local currency and the United States dollar.

In an application before the High Court, Harare North MP Allan Markham asserts that: “Harare City Council does not have capacity to meet this obligation without falling deep into an intractable debt trap or resorting to other developmental funds. The cost of the project is unsustainable.”

Harare City Council is likely to default on its contractual obligations as it is already failing to collect refuse.

In an attempt to achieve an upper-middle income economy status by 2030, government identified devolution as a key pillar.

Under devolution, citizens are involved in setting the development agenda in their communities. Decentralisation can empower and enable the citizens especially poor and marginalised groups, permitting greater choice and control over their rights.

Enabling legislation to operationalise the Constitutional provision for devolution to take place in Zimbabwe is long overdue. Numerous deals and unaccountable financial arrangements involving council lands, assets and service have proliferated in the absence of functional devolution. These have been collectively harmful to the present and future prospects of many councils, especially the highly compromised Harare City Council.

There must be a move to devolve power and allow citizens to make choices that are in their best interests. To this end, it must be stressed that Parliament, as representatives of the citizens, must be able to exercise their oversight role in all issues concerning public finance management.

Through its issuance of the contract with Geogenix BV, government continues to disregard prudent public finance management and sound public procurement processes with impunity.

For the sake of constitutional and developmental progress the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry must facilitate rather than undermine devolved efforts by councils to safeguard public resources and to deploy them in the public’s informed best interests.

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