All countries desirous of moving forward must embrace economic and political globalisation and take advantage of it, participants at a two-day international conference on the relationship between Africa and Europe have agreed.
According to the participants, globalisation has come to stay and countries must take it seriously.
A member of the Stiftung Wissensschaft und Politik in Germany, Mr Heribert Dieter, said the success stories of other developing countries were based on the acceptance of globalisation as an economic model.
He said Asian countries never had any preferential agreement, and that they embraced the concept of globalisation while at the same time added value to their production chain.
A representative of the Tanzanian Employers Association, Mr Nicholas Mbwanji, in his submission, stated that trade between Africa and Europe was tilted rather in favour of Europe.
He said the continent was not competitive enough due to poor infrastructure and inadequate regulatory systems to make it an investment destination.
Mr Mbwanji stated that globalisation was a very challenging system which called for valued added products and asked whether Africa was ready for it.
He said for Africa to move forward, there was the need to strengthen the capacity of local industries to be able to stand boot for boot with multinational companies.
He said through that method, Africa could gradually and systematically work its way into the global economic system.
Other participants noted that the cost of doing business was very high in Africa and corruption had taken a better part of the continent's economic activities.
They agreed that the private sector was yet to take its rightful place in the economic development of Africa.
Contributing to the debate, a representative of the Business Council of Zimbabwe, Ms Wadzanai Machena, said so long as Africa continued to remain a producer of primary commodities, it would forever remain poor and underdeveloped.
She said the time had come for Africa to begin to add value to its primary commodities and trade within the region, adding that “50 years of development assistance has rather made Africa worse off.”
Story by Lloyd Evans