BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI A LOBBY group, Fight Inequality Alliance Zimbabwe (FIA) says Zimbabwe’s attendance of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting to be held in Davos, Switzerland will be a waste of taxpayers’ money.
In a statement yesterday, FIA Zimbabwe urged the government to concentrate on ending socio-economic inequalities saying: “Is Davos a priority with all the economic woes citizens are facing at home?”
FIA Zimbabwe national co-ordinator Angellah Mandoreba told NewsDay that as a lobby group they were concerned that taxpayers will be funding the trip for government representatives to attend the WEF meeting, which they said was a socialisation platform which often came up with anti-people economic policy prescriptions.
“Following media reports that the government has been invited to the World Economic Forum, the Fight Inequality Alliance Zimbabwe is gravely concerned that taxpayers will once again fund the trip of government representatives to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, a platform which proved to be a socialisation platform for anti-people economic policy prescriptions,” Mandoreba said.
“Inasfar as we acknowledge the need for Zimbabwe to be connected to the international community in pursuit of the country’s national agenda, the capacity of Zimbabwe as one of the developing countries and also being at the periphery of the global governance order, to influence pro-people and pro-poor discourses is limited.
“Instead of focusing on reducing the widening inequality gap by introducing a raft of measures aimed at ensuring the rich and corporates pay their fair share of taxes, the focus is on participating at such elitist events which do not advance the interests of the masses,” she said.
Mandoreba said the Davos meeting would only strengthen and consolidate financial and corporate powers, while charting ways for profit enhancement.
“The World Economic Forum is not a space meant to advance solutions which benefit the ordinary people, but a platform to strengthen and consolidate financial and corporate power while charting ways for profit enhancement.”
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FIA said with an estimated 20 delegates going to Davos, the country would fork out around US$4 000 per person for air tickets and more money for tours to resorts.
“Meanwhile, millions of taxpayers are hungry. Is the answer to the Zimbabwe food insecurity in Davos? How many could be fed by that US$80 000,” FIA Zimbabwe queried. The Davos meeting will be held from May 22 to 26 under the theme: History at a Turning Point: Government Policies and Business Strategies.
Economist Prosper Chitambara said there was nothing wrong with Zimbabwe attending the Davos meeting.
“It will aid the country to market itself to investors, but it is also important to make sure that the government delegation is not bloated. It is part of re-engagement but a bloated delegation could be a waste of resources. We need a strategic delegation,” Chitambara said.
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