Harare – Africa loses US$18 billion annually through armed conflicts, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has said.
Opening the 10th Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) in Harare, President Mugabe said the continent should concentrate on adding value to its resources.
“If we arrest the scourge of conflicts, a bright future for Africa becomes a reality as the necessary tranquil environment for Africa will obtain. Consequently, Africa will be fully capable of exploiting her own resources for developmental purposes.
“Estimations are that Africa loses US$18 billion per annum through conflicts.
“The continent loses even more if we factor in resources siphoned out from us by our erstwhile colonisers during times of military conflict, as well as the loss of human capital as our skilled manpower is sometimes constrained to seek seemingly greener pastures abroad,” President Mugabe said.
He urged Africans to unite in resolving domestic problems without outside interference.
“Fellow Africans, the time for us to demonstrate a will of common purpose, if the battle against the evils of foreign intervention and its attendant latter-day scramble for Africa is to be won, is now. Allow me, therefore, to cast the gauntlet before you all.
“The time has come for Africa to accept primary responsibility and behave in a manner that should exclude the requirement for others to intervene in our affairs. This is the time we should take responsibility for our omissions and remedy the mistakes, which we would have made.
“This sense of accountability should be the ultimate phase towards Africa’s self-interpretation in the broad trajectory of charting our Pan-African destiny.”
He said past interventions by foreigners in Africa saw deployment of stealth predator drones, which not only gather military intelligence but also conduct geological surveys targeting the continent’s resources.
President Mugabe urged Africa’s intelligence and security services to acquire the necessary tools for early detection of possible conflicts and mechanisms to stop them.
He said Western intelligence services had policy documents outlining future interventions in Africa.
“As CISSA similar policy guidelines need to be crafted and driven by the intelligence community in your annual, intermediate and long term assessments and in projections of the destiny of Africa, even up to the next 50 years.”
He commended Africa’s security services for coming up with programmes such as the Continental and Regional Early Warning System, the AU Border Programme, and the AU Policy Framework on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development among others.
Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, who was standing in for AU Chair Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma, bemoaned Africa’s failure to intervene in the Mali conflict resulting in France sending troops to the North African country.
He also reiterated Africa’s sovereignty over its resources.
“The inter-relation between natural resources, development and security has manifested itself in many ways.
“Sovereignty over our natural resources is an inalienable right of our nations and must be harnessed for the development of our nations. It is a fact that if the resources are properly harnessed Africa can be a leading continent in the 21st century,” Ambassador Lamamra said.
Also present at the conference were representatives from China, Italy, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates.
The CISSA conference ran under the theme “The nexus between Africa’s natural resources, development and security”.